Passion for the natural world is entrenched within nine-year-old Bundaberg boy Elijah Richardson who has been named a 2022 ambassador of CoralWatch.
It is the first time CoralWatch has given a position to a child, and Elijah is very honoured to play his part to help protect the environment.
The beginning of 2022 has already been astronomical for the Year 4 St Joseph’s School student, as he was the only child to attend CoralWatch’s five-day workshop on Heron Island.
And just days ago he received a hand-written letter from his hero, Sir David Attenborough.
“When I am older I hope to become a documentarist like my role model David Attenborough and teach people about the natural world,” Elijah said.
“I wrote to him, but I didn’t expect to receive a reply, but he did with a handwritten letter sending his best wishes.”
Elijah said becoming a Coral Watch ambassador allowed him the opportunity to spread the message even further, and he was excited to attend Brisbane's World Science Festival in March speaking to the public about the Great Barrier Reef on behalf of CoralWatch.
It’s not the first time Elijah has stepped up to encourage other young people to take a stand to help stop environmental pollution.
Late last year the eco warrior was instrumental in getting American pop star Billie Eilish to allow her 2016 hit single Ocean Eyes to be used in the CoralWatch cause to help save the Great Barrier Reef.
Billie Eilish’s song Ocean Eyes will help Elijah’s CoralWatch campaign shed light on the organisation’s research and reef conservation work, which they have been conducting since 2002.
Now Elijah has set his goal to recruit some of Hollywood’s “big voices” including Robert De Niro and Kit Harrington in his campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef.
Proudly born in Bundaberg, Elijah believes it is important to take care of the local environment, but he understands pollution is a global concern.
“This is 100 per cent what I want to do,” Elijah said with passion in his voice.
“We need these big voices to get on board to help CoralWatch make more people aware of the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef.”
Elijah, who is also a Tangaroa Blue ambassador, said microplastic found along the Great Barrier Reef coastline, including the beaches of Bundaberg, had not only originated from local areas but also from other countries.
That’s why he believes it’s important to spread the message globally.
“There are lots of things you can do at home, even if you don’t live near the beach, to reduce the use of plastic,” Elijah said.
“To help look after the Great Barrier Reef, CoralWatch has great tips on its website that you can then follow and if you do those tips in the end it makes a big difference.”
Next month Elijah and his mum Kerry are inviting the community to join them for Clean Up Australia Day on the foreshore at Burnett Heads.
“There are a lot of great initiatives to help the environment here in this region,” Kerry said.
“A couple of times a week, we go as a family to collect rubbish and clean the beaches.
“There’s the new Refill not Landfill initiative to fill a jar of microplastic and in exchange you will get a book voucher from Book Boutique, and so much more.”
For more information on Elijah’s Clean Up Australia Day event click here.