Penelope Lea gets a pleasant surprise at the Arctic Drone Event in Svalbard: A digital toolbox for the Eco Agents.
Foto:Robert Dreier Holand

Penelope (14) receives drones in Svalbard: “I am really happy and deeply moved”

The Eco Agent was given a digital toolbox during the drone conference.
Sigve Losnegård

14-year-old Penelope Lea stole the show at the Arctic Drone Event conference in Svalbard Tuesday. Lea is the leader of the children’s Climate Panel, the Eco Agents, and held an emotional speech about the environmental challenges her generation has inherited from their parental generation. “I dream about you making me proud,” she said to her audience at the University of Svalbard, urging them to commit to making a difference for the environment.

A few hours later the conference had moved to Gruve 3, an abandoned coal mine outside of Longyearbyen, where students presented problems for discussion, and ensuing workshops. Here she challenged the audience at the conference to find out how drones may help the Eco Agents in identifying garbage and cleaning up beaches. After the discussions, Penelope was presented with a surprise on stage.

The general manager of UAS Norway told Penelope that the Eco Agents will be given a digital tool box to help accomplish more in less time in their efforts for cleaning up the environment. The toolbox consists of five drones, in addition to training, insurance and data plans for streaming data, in addition to equipment for analyzing data.

“I am really happy and deeply moved”, Penelope says to UAS Norway.

“This will provide us with a lot more opportunities. It’s fantastic that these people and organizations will help us do our work. We need to learn more about the world, and they have shown their will to help us do just that.”

“How will you use this equipment?”

“We can do a lot. We may use drones in finding out where there’s plastic, and much more. We are receiving training as well, so we will acquire a lot more knowledge”, says a beaming 14-year-old. Eight years old Penelope became an Eco Agent, and she has committed herself even more since then.

“I quickly understood that I had to fight for the environment, because I want to inherit an earth with birds, crabs, plants and trees. Then we must do something, whether you’re an adult or a child”, says Lea.

In addition to the tool box from UAS Norway and Elefun, Avinor will offer boat transport for the Eco Agents, in addition to providing facilities for drone training. The Norwegian Coastal Administration will help cleaning up waste and deposit it, Akvaplan-niva will educate the agents on the types of garbage that are particularly dangerous, in addition to mapping areas that are especially exposed to maritime waste.

Teknova, Maritime Robotics and FLIR stated that they wish to contribute as well.

Lea with the leader of UASN, Anders Martinsen.

“Lea and her organization do an amazing effort in cleaning up beaches, removing plastic and spreading knowledge to a new generation. Therefore, we feel it’s crucial to respond to her request for commitment. With these tools they may continue their excellent work in an even more efficient way”, UASN-leader Martinsen concludes.