How Mari Copeny Brought Clean Water to Flint, Michigan
We as a society often think that age is a huge factor in success, and tend to forget that you don’t need to be old enough to have a license to be a driving force of change. Now more than ever, younger generations are stepping up to the plate with the motivation and ideas to improve the lives of those around them, and show no signs of slowing down. From toddler to teenager and above, they’re not just telling us what needs to be done about the world’s big issues, but going out and doing it themselves.
Who is Mari Copeny?
Mari Copeny, a 13-year-old activist and Planet Home solutionist known as “Little Miss Flint”, is one such example of these young leaders. While water pollution and scarcity are often associated as only being problems outside of the U.S., in reality that’s not true. In 2014, a water crisis hit Flint, Michigan after an ill-advised and executed act by the local government to switch their main water source to Flint River, a decision that is still haunting the area today.
In a stunning display of activism, Mari stood up for the people of Flint, as well as those around the world that do not have the privilege of a constant clean water supply, and has used her voice for the betterment of all people. Her first notable act consisted of a powerful letter to President Obama during his time in office. Upon reading it and hearing of the environmental injustice, the former President actually visited the area himself to see what was going on, and ended up awarding $100 million to the city of Flint in the hopes that the funds could start them on the path to clean water. This grant was monumental in the turnaround of the Flint water crisis, and would not have been possible without Copeny’s admirable initiative.
Dear Flint Kids
Mari also has taken to social media, namely Twitter (@LittleMissFlint), to promote various fundraising projects to help those in need. Two primary ones that she is working on are “Dear Flint Kids” and “Wednesdays for Water”.
Dear Flint Kids is a letter project with the aim of giving kids growing up in Flint positive messages from all around the world, letting them know that people wish the best for them, and that the people of earth care about their wellbeing.
If you’re interested in contributing to this, please make out all letters to the following address:
PO Box 138
Flint, MI 48501
Wednesdays for Water
Wednesdays for Water is her most recent venture, where every Wednesday she posts about places both within and outside of the United States that are facing varying water crises. Some of these places include Ghana, Providence, RI, and Newark, NJ. She also includes links as to how you can help each of these places and operates a GoFundMe page that hit the $500,000 mark on Earth Day of this year!
In addition to all this and in spite of the pandemic raging in the background, Copeny shows no signs of slowing down. Through the efforts detailed above, she has implemented thousands of water filters in places that struggled with clean water over the past few years, and has raised enough money to give the equivalent of 27,000,000 bottles of water to those in need. She has dreams of making even bigger and better changes in the world, and hopes to run for President herself in 2044. When it comes to Mari Copeny, age is truly just a number.
For more information about what this solutionist is up to and for ways to help out, visit her website at www.maricopeny.com, and keep your eyes on the news for the next project she takes on!
We all have countless experiences every day that shape us into who we are, and with these comes wisdom. No matter where you are, or the birth date on that certificate, you are all capable of being agents of change. The world is filled with a great many people, and it only takes one to start standing up for what we believe.
You can be a solutionist too.