Virus robs young eco warrior of her moment in the spotlight
PINT-sized Cairns eco warrior Molly Steer has been catapulted onto the international stage with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian comedian Celeste Barber with her latest award.
The 12-year-old founder of the Straw No More movement is among five inaugural recipients of the Honorary Local Legend Award at the 2020 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards alongside PM Ardern and Ms Barber.
But the global coronavirus pandemic has thwarted the Cairns State High School student's trip to the awards presentation in Los Angeles, which was due to take place next week.
"We we got news on Monday that her trip has been cancelled, due to coronavirus," said her mother, Jules Steer.
It is the latest accolade for the young environmental campaigner, who was named Cairns Young Woman of the Year in 2018 and was snapped up by footwear giant Clarks Australia for its national Back to School campaign this year.
Molly fronted the Follow In Their Footsteps campaign alongside young drought relief crusader Jack Berne, another to be recognised at the 2020 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
The two young stars were chosen by Clarks to inspire children to "reach for the stars" and remind them that they are "capable of achieving great things, even while still at school".
Molly was 10 when she launched Straw No More with the aim of stopping every school in Tropical North Queensland from using plastic straws. Some 1700 schools have since followed her lead.
Her influence has extended far beyond North Queensland with her campaign receiving recognition and support as far afield as New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, America and the United Kingdom.
She was one of 50 young environmental campaigners selected to attend a major marine convention in Canada and earlier this month she was a guest speaker at the 2020 National Plastics Summit in Canberra.
Molly's TEDxJCUCairns talk has been viewed by more than 110,000 people.