Olivia Mandle is a teenage eco-warrior who is lobbying Pedro Sanchez’s government to “ban dolphin parks” and call an end to “keeping cetaceans in captivity”…
Olivia Mandle only 12 years old when, after visiting an exhibition in New York on the devastating effects of climate change and waste dumping, she created the “jelly cleaner”.
It was an original utensil made from old socks and recycled plastic bottles – materials that we all have at home – with two missions: to help remove microplastics from the waters of her beloved Mediterranean Sea and to raise awareness.
“This tool is not a work of engineering, but it works and makes it clear that the sea is filling up with plastic. When people see me with it and ask me what it is, I can explain to them what is happening in the sea, so we all realise that we are doing something wrong,” says Olivia, talking to National Geographic España.
The jelly cleaner marked a before and after moment in Olivia’s life, who, despite having demonstrated her desire to change the world from a very young age, saw the support and recognition she received as the main reason to become an activist. Months later, she created her first campaign on change.org to free three dolphins from Barcelona Zoo. She did not achieve her ultimate goal, because they were simply transferred to another zoo in Athens. This prompted her to launch a more courageous and direct crusade: the #noespaisparadelfines campaign, which calls for the staggered closure of dolphinariums in Spain. The campaign has collected almost 120,000 signatures.
For her direct and daring discourse, the so-called “Spanish Greta” (after Swedish teen eco-warrior Greta Thunberg) has drawn the attention of the media, scientists from all fields and politicians who helped her to bring to the Senate a bill to close dolphinariums. However, Olivia’s muses are others: her parents, who instilled in her a love of the planet, and women like Sylvia Earle and, of course, Jane Goodall, the English primatologist and anthropologist, and the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.
Olivia, who is an ambassador for the European Commission’s European Climate Pact, has two awards from the institute named after the legendary primatologist: “Dr Goodall is my muse, my everything. I can’t believe what she achieved as a woman scientist when society was against her.
When she is not studying – she will start her fourth ESO in September – or working (she designs and writes for her own website and does all her own communications), Olivia loves ballet and sea-diving. She dreams of becoming a marine biologist. She rejects superficiality, she says, she seeks reason, even if she sometimes goes against the tide and not all her generation follows her. She does not accept whims, nor does she value brands: “We should all live a much more sustainable life; the planet’s resources are limited and, in the end, this is our only home”.
Here she is in her own words:
I am an animal rights activist and climate warrior. I fight for the rights of marine animals and I dream of a plastic-free Mediterranean. I lead a campaign on Change.org #Noespaisparadelfines to end dolphin parks in Spain. I was recognized as a “Mini-heroine” by Roots & Shoots: the educational program of the Jane Goodall Institute, International Award from The Jane Goodall Institute Global for my campaigns. I am an EU Climate Pact Ambassador, and also an Ambassador for “La España Azul” project by explorer Nacho Dean.
In 2019 I created a tool to clean microplastics from the sea. I call it “Jelly Cleaner” and anyone can make one only using recycled materials you can find at home.
Combining my love for the Mediterranean and for animals, specifically dolphins, in early 2020 I created my first campaign on the Change.org platform asking the Barcelona City Government to save the three dolphins that were imprisoned at the Barcelona Zoo. In just a few months my campaign received over 56,000 signatures. However, the campaign did not have the outcome I was hoping for because although these dolphins were moved from the Barcelona Zoo, they were just transferred to a new aquarium in Athens, Greece.
I turned my disappointment into determination, and I launched an even more ambitious and necessary campaign, directed to the president of the Spanish Government, calling for a COMPLETE BAN ON DOLPHIN PARKS and KEEPING CETACEANS IN CAPTIVITY.
My current campaign on Change.org #noesPaisparaDelfines is to force the Spanish government to pass a law for the progressive closing of Dolphin Parks and ending cetaceans in captivity. I already have 116,000 signatures, we presented a motion in the Spanish Senate in 2021, and in March 2022 I submitted evidence in the Public Hearing period of the new Animal Welfare Bill proposal.
I gave my first TEDx talk in February 2022.
I love ballet, art, and music.
Add your name to her petition here: