14-year-old on clean water mission

People of any any can have an impact on their neighborhood and society at large. And Mari Copeny is a good example of this.

As a resident of Flint, Michigan, the 14-year-old is taking action to help her community. She’s a young environmental activist who has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of the planet.

“I decided to tackle the water crisis head on by getting my own water filter to give to those in need of clean water,” she says.  

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Why toxic water was harming people in Flint

Clean water began to be a problem in Flint’s water supply around 2014. People in the area started getting hives and there was a noticeable decrease in the amount of hair on some people.

It was later revealed that toxic water caused all of these symptoms. By cutting back on Detroit’s water supply, the city’s water supply was diverted to the polluted Flint River – and toxins were not removed from this new water source.

This polluted water was also delivered to people’s homes via old pipes. Toxic metals and harmful bacteria were found in it, causing it to become contaminated. Soon after, researchers and doctors began to investigate this problem. Lead levels in the city’s drinking water were found to be extremely high. 

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How did Mari help the problem?

Mari was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. Afraid of what was happening to her neighborhood because of the contaminated water, she decided to take action herself.

After Obama was reelected in 2016, the then 8-year-old penned a heartfelt letter to him. She informed him of Flint’s water issues. In the wake of receiving a letter from Flint, President Obama made a trip to the city and helped bring attention to the problem. People from all over the country began donating to Flint.

Later, Obama approved $100 million for the improvement of Flint’s water supply.

Honorable fundraising efforts

That wasn’t the end of Mari’s story. To ensure that everyone in her city had access to free bottled water, she kept up her efforts to raise funds. More than $500,0000 has been raised through her efforts over the years. Many Flint residents are still unable to use their city’s tap water to this day. In spite of this, the city of Flint is slowly replacing its old lead water pipes thanks to the efforts of activists like Mari.

Mari’s goal is for everyone to be able to access clean water without having to pay for it.

Flint and other US cities without easy access to clean water are still in her sights, and she is doing what she can to help them. In addition, she collaborated with a business to develop her own water filter.

Across the country, these filters have been sent to people who are dealing with contaminated water supply issues. People from all over the world are now writing letters of encouragement and inspiration to children in Flint, Michigan.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: You can help Mari with her mission of clean water for everyone by donating to her cause.

GET INVOLVED: Find out how you can support Mari’s other fundraising efforts on her website

SUPPORT: Support WaterAid, a global charity on a mission to give clean water to all.