Going green in Guyana: beach clean-ups, pollution debates and taking inspiration from the Pope

A young Guyanese woman has emerged as a future leader on climate change in her country, after throwing herself into a series of environmental programmes backed by Jesuit Missions.

Anjali Maharaj, 20, has organised beach clean-ups and upcycling events, helped create murals on caring for nature, and led a debate team on the pressing issue of ocean pollution.

It comes through her work at climate NGO Policy Forum Guyana (PFG) – a Jesuit Missions’ partner – which she joined as a full-time volunteer after graduating from Marian Academy in Georgetown.

A devoted Hindu, Anjali has nevertheless been inspired by the concepts of Catholic Social Teaching, and Pope Francis’s influential document on the environment, Laudato Si.

Guyana has high biodiversity (Image: Unsplash/Joshua Gobin)

“To her, the message transcended boundaries of race, economic status, creed, and religion, offering a universal call to transform hearts and minds, leading to positive changes in our lifestyles,” said PFG’s Mike McCormack.

“Anjali’s story serves as a shining example of how individuals from diverse backgrounds can unite under a common purpose, work together, and inspire positive change in our society.

“Her journey encapsulates the transformation from a dedicated student to a passionate advocate for a sustainable, 1.5-degree lifestyle and a cleaner, healthier world for us all.”

PFG also seeks to engage young people politically when it comes to addressing the climate crisis, with training sessions aimed at developing their public speaking, advocacy and digital marketing skills. 

Through its work, they are encouraged to think how they can influence decisions linked to the environment, a subject particularly relevant in Guyana given the relatively recent discovery of oil in the region.

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