‘Treat every day like it’s Earth Day’

Earth Talk with Miss NMI Earth Crystal Fiona Rio
Posted on Apr 22 2022

2021 Miss Northern Marianas Earth
Crystal Fiona Rio. (Contributed Photo)

Whether it’s running from Garapan to Oleai, climbing Mount Tapochao, or swimming around Managaha, every little step goes a long way. Same goes with caring for nature. Protecting and preserving the environment may seem too big of a responsibility but every stride, every move—like planting trees, properly disposing trash, not dumping used oil in sinks, caring for animals—they all add up.

For Crystal Fiona Rio, 2021 Miss Northern Marianas Earth, the key is to treat every day like it is Earth Day. The reigning queen encourages everyone to embrace sustainable living, adding that despite how inconvenient such a lifestyle might seem, it is actually easier than we think.

“No one is asking us to take a big leap to make a great change. This is more of a little nudge to take little steps toward the main goal. A little does go a long way,” she said.

Rio and the Miss NMI Earth elemental queens have been teaming up, participating in events all over the islands to spread awareness of green-living, waste management, including ways to reuse single-use products. To celebrate Earth Day, they are organizing and inviting everyone to help in the cleanup at Marine Beach this Saturday, April 23, from 8am to 10am.

“I am strongly highlighting the benefits of teamwork with my girls to inspire and motivate the community, mainly the youth, to work together to create a more beautiful and safe environment for ourselves and our future generations,” she said

Growing up on Saipan, Rio believes that the island’s natural beauty extends beyond the beaches, the forests, the mountains, and the ocean—but also on how the community treats nature, and on how the diversity and similarities of the many cultures on island are nurtured.

This advocacy of connecting culture and the environment is something Rio shares with her own environmental hero—activist, writer, and entrepreneur Dominique Drakeford, whom the young queen admires for her work on environmental awareness and sustainability “with a modern-like touch, while also highlighting environmental and life lessons learned from Black and Indigenous thinkers.”

“Knowing that there are people—WOMEN—who are empowering their countries to save the Earth is very motivating,” Rio said.

And empowering the community to protect, love, and care for nature is exactly what Rio, with the Miss NMI Earth elemental queens, are doing.

“The community can expect more collaborations [among] the queens, as a group or individuals, and other organizations as we take bigger steps toward a better environment.”

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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