A Massachusetts teen is being recognized by the British royal family and by the Boston Celtics for her work to fight climate change with a "Heroes Among Us" award.
Ollie Perrault had only found out she was nominated to this award last Friday, and only a few hours before Wednesday’s Celtics game she was told she would also get a royal recognition.
She got a standing ovation when her name was announced at the TD Garden, where the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine, were present, praising her work on climate change.
“I was pretty overwhelmed in the moment,” said Perrault.
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The Heroes Among Us award was a culmination of years in which 15-year-old Perrault has been raising awareness about the urgent action needed to stop the damage to the environment.
Having grown up in her family farm in Western Massachusetts, the Easthampton teen has witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change.
“We’ve experienced extreme rainfall, record-breaking droughts, extreme storm damage, and from a pretty young age I knew I needed to find a way to make a difference,” she said.
At age 11 she began volunteering at local climate advocacy groups. Then a year ago she decided to form her own and launched Youth Climate Action NOW, where she’s rallying young people as a force for change.
“We’re angry that people are not acting fast enough, we’re angry that there’s still so many people out there ignoring the science, we’re angry that generations before us let it get this bad,” she said. “And in my experience, that anger is incredibly powerful.”
Her goal is to influence climate policy in both the private and public sector.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle, that’s no longer enough. We need a radical solution to a crisis of this level and young people are really encouraging our leaders to think bigger, we are highlighting that need for a system change,” she added.
More people will be recognized for their climate change activism by the royals during their Earthshot Prize awards on Friday at the MGM Music Hall in Fenway.