By Flora Gonska:
MarbleWatch is a youth-led environmental initiative dedicated to identifying, documenting, and addressing localized environmental issues through photography. Read on!
FG: Tell us all about you and your organization!
Hi! My name’s Maanit Goel. I sort of founded MarbleWatch, so one of my teammates asked me to answer this question about myself. But that’s not what MarbleWatch is about. Our whole purpose is to unite the planet for the environmental cause. To fulfill our mission, we’re going to need all hands on deck, globally, looking out for the natural world. So it’s only natural that our organization is not a hierarchy; it’s a team of amazing, exceptional youth activists, each driven to work towards a greener future. But, let’s get back to that.
Who are we, and what do we do?
MarbleWatch is a global youth-led organization aimed at registering communities worldwide as environmental watchdogs to keep an eye out for their local ecosystems and the natural world around them. "Oh boy, another environmental organization—don’t we have enough of those?"
Yes, personally I’ve seen that a lot of young people are starting organizations now just to catch on to the trend if they can. Woo-hoo! Environment! Protests! Strikes!
But while all these protests and strikes are effective, I realized a few months back that they inadvertently overshadow a lot of "smaller," localized environmental issues. Because who’s going to speak for the trees if we’re all busy in the streets? We’re confident in the climate change movements like Fridays for Future and Zero Hour. And we’re taking it on ourselves to pinpoint and address the smaller-scale, localized issues in communities around the world. We aim to register thousands, and tens of thousands, of environmental watchdogs worldwide. When a registered member happens to find a concern that requires addressing, they document it through a photograph and some supplemental information and submit it as an entry to their local youth-led chapter. The chapter then problem-solves and implements a method to address the issue. Progress will be tracked, and the chapters, alongside with the organization core, will use the initial submission and the results to raise awareness of these
issues and how they were solved, for other communities to replicate if necessary. We operate as equals. Everyone on board has multiple roles, and everyone works in teams.
We’re a relatively small organization at the moment, but even as we grow, we will work to maintain our tight-knit start-up culture. Everyone has a part to play, and everyone has a voice. Because to make change, we have to do it together.
FG: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
Why our generation? There are so many reasons, but firstly, there is NO REASON that our generation has to justify a reason for people to notice us and listen to what we have to say. This is our planet. We are the future. And if this is the world we are growing up in, we need to each do our part to make it a world worth growing up in. Our generation is growing up in a world more connected than ever before, which means we’re more aware of what’s going on around us, even on the other side of the planet. There are so many problems in the world, in every area you can imagine. And if we’re going to do anything about it, the first step is to let our voices out. Show the world that we are the future. We are the change. Our generation needs to let our voices be heard, because we don’t have a choice. Because if we don’t, our planet is going to be ripped away from us.
FG: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
We’re not optimistic, nor are we pessimistic. With too much optimism, we’d get so infatuated with our hope for a better future that we’d forget to make the change we need in the present. With pessimism, we’d think that change was impossible, so we’d fail to even try. We don’t focus on what could happen. Here at MarbleWatch, we focus on what needs to happen, and use a future-back approach to figure out what steps we need to take to get there. We can’t know if the future will be clean and green. At the moment, it looks like it’s definitely going in the other direction; but if we’re going to do anything about it, we have to focus on the present, the future we need, and what needs to happen in between.
FG: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
Again, there’s so many issues in the world right now! But for us, the most important issues facing our world are those relating to the environment (bet you didn’t see that coming!). The reason for this is that the deadline is coming soon. In fact, it may have already passed. If we don’t completely reverse the trajectory of humanity’s environmental impact on this planet in a matter of years, the world as we know it will be stripped away. It’s already beginning. And it’s not a single environmental issue—it’s everything, as a whole. From wildlife, to plant life, to water, to air, to earth. This single-most important issue facing our world right now is our inability to coexist in harmony with the natural world. In the future? We sure hope it’s something different, because we hope we’ll have solved this issue in a timely manner!
FG: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
Our organization addresses localized environmental issues that are often overlooked and establishes systems to ensure green practices in urban and suburban environments for years to come. By registering eco-watchdogs worldwide, we are both making the world a more environmentally aware place, while discouraging corporations and cities from infringing on the environment due to fear of public backlash.
FG: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors.
Our organization has only launched in the past couple of months, so our main goals at the moment are to expand the reach of our chapters, grow our chapter teams and core teams, and raise enough funds to propel us past stage 1 (and to snag that expensive 501(c)3 registration!). One project we’re currently working on is a remote eco-workshop for kids ages 7–12, and we plan on fundraising while educating youth on environmental solutions. For more information about the workshop, check out our webpage at Marblewatch.org.
FG: Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
FG: If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
Huge thank you to The Gen Z Collective for giving us this opportunity to reflect on ourselves and share our message with the world, and if any of you reading this have any questions regarding MarbleWatch (or even just want to say hi!), shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’d love to have you on board with us—join your local chapter on our website Marblewatch.org or start a new one!
Thank you, MarbleWatch! To the reader: don't hesitate to share this awesome organization with young people in your life, you may find a new way to reflect on the past and talk about the future together.
A Cleveland, OH, native, Flora Gonska is a non-binary trans woman from a big family. She's a writer, video producer/editor, and artist. An avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and equality movement, she has lived in Los Angeles for three years, and she's involved in and enjoys writing on politics, the LGBTQ+ community, and life in the U.S.