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Hellena M. Sailas and Mark J. Spalding

Learn more about ActNowFilm participants Hellena M. Sailas and Mark J. Spalding.


Photos of ActNowFilm participants Hellena M. Sailas and Mark J. Spalding, with their names displayed underneath. The bottom of the picture features the ActNowFilm logo and the film title “Youth climate leaders in conversation with climate experts”.
Hellena M. Sailas and Mark J. Spalding are one of 30 pairs of youth climate leaders and climate experts from across the world matched for 1-2-1 conversations as part of this year’s ActNowFilm.

ActNowFilm: youth climate leaders in conversation with climate experts is an international youth voices in climate change project, selected to showcase at COP28. The film is based on 1-2-1 conversations between 30 pairs of youth climate leaders and world leading climate experts.

Hellena M. Sailas is a Tanzanian Medical Laboratory Technologist, entrepreneur, and climate activist, as well as a young water fellow, Africa Innovation fellow, and a TEDx speaker. From an early age, Helena has been passionate about the environment, science, and technology, particularly in the field of health. During her studies, she became involved in various community service activities, where she witnessed firsthand the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and public health.

This experience inspired Helena to start Arena Recycling Industry, a social enterprise that recycles plastic waste into eco-bricks for the construction of pit latrines, water tanks, and septic tanks. Arena Recycling Industry's mission is to promote responsible consumption and production, reduce waste generation, and sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution.

Hellena's work at Arena Recycling Industry has earned her multiple recognitions and awards, including the prestigious Wangari Maathai Legacy Prize. She was also honored with the Women in Science and Technology Award, the 25 Under 25 Award, the Social Innovator of the Year Award, the Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Young Environmental Ambassador Award. Additionally, she won the AIM GLOBAL Tanzania National Champion, which allowed her to represent Tanzania in the Global Entrepreneurship Conference held in Dubai. Hellena has been featured in various publications and media outlets, and she is recognized as one of the leading voices in social entrepreneurship and environmental activism in Tanzania.

Hellena is also passionate about inspiring and empowering young people, particularly women, to make a positive impact in their communities. She serves as the chairperson of the Women in Recycling Foundation, an organization committed to promoting a healthy environment for women, young women, and women with disabilities through strengthening waste management systems, developing skills and knowledge, and empowering women through circular economy solutions.

Mark J. Spalding is an expert on international environmental policy and law, ocean policy and law, and coastal and marine philanthropy. He has been the President of The Ocean Foundation since 2003. Under his leadership, it has grown exponentially from a $200,000/year to a $15 million/year budget, as he prioritised steering the human relationship with the sea to a brighter future through diverse, carefully chosen strategies and projects.

Mark is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. Mark is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He is also an Advisor to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In addition, he serves as advisor to the Rockefeller Climate Solutions Strategy and the Credit Suisse Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Strategy and is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment. He designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow.


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