Kate Melville-Rea

As Projects and Events Coordinator at the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, in Queensland, Australia, Kate Melville-Rea, Class of 2018 educates people to the threats of water pollution; one of her favorite programs is “drain art” for kids.

“We use stencils and spray paint to put a permanent message on drains that is colorful and cute,” she says. The message — “Drains to Reef,” as in, the Great Barrier Reef — is innocuous enough. But even that observation is a stretch for some people.

“I was yelled at by a couple of farmers recently; they told me to get a real job! It’s not an easy place to be a climate advocate.” Why does she persist? Because to her, drains are tiny pieces in a planetary puzzle that has been neglected for long enough.

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