Fort Langley teen wants to help solve plastic pollution

Sophia Shultz’s article on plastics invading our daily routine has won her an award

Fort Langley teen Sophia Schultz didn’t realize how much plastic people are exposed to every day, until she started researching plastic pollution for an eco-journalism competition for youth.

“Almost everything I touch is made of plastic. The cap to my toothpaste, the keyboard for my computer, the plate I eat from,” Sophia wrote in her award-winning article.

Environmental Defence announced the winners of its annual national eco-journalism competition for youth. This year, one of the top spots went to Sophia.

Sophia, who attends Heritage Christian Online School, received first place in the article category for ages 11-14. Her essay will be published by Alternatives Journal.

Open to youth ages 11–14 and 15-18, the competition, hosted by Environmental Defence’s YRE Canada program, offers an opportunity for young people to contribute an article, photo or video about a fast-growing environmental issue: plastic pollution.

Schultz’s article was also entered in the international Young Reporters for the Environment competition, hosted by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it received an honourable mention.

Every year, the competition receives hundreds of entries from youth from 29 countries.

“YRE Canada is more than just a competition. It also helps to create the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Jennifer Mayville with Environmental Defence.

“These students’ creative solutions to plastic pollution give us hope that we can solve this problem in our lifetime.”

Sophia didn’t think her essay would go that far.

“I’m really proud. I hadn’t even heard of plastic pollution before this. It’s inspired me to take little steps to solve it,” she said.

That includes taking her own cup to coffee shops and carrying her own water bottle instead of using plastic ones.

For more information about the 2017 YRE Canada National Eco-Journalism Competition for Youth, and to see the winning submissions, click here.


YRE Canada is a national environmental education program that gives youth the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism. The program is run by Environmental Defence.


The goal of Environmental Defence is to challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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