Miss Earth: Destiney Wagner
Words: Dr. Cybil Bonhomme
Model: Destiny Wagner
Photographer: Ernie Alpuche
The Creative , April 1, 2023
From the illustrious southernmost town of Punta Gorda, Destiny Wagner is a digital influencer, author, philanthropist, certified diver, and businesswoman. She developed an interest in pageantry while residing in the US after receiving a flyer for a contest and wanting to be the first to represent Belize. Since then, Destiny has participated in several pageants, placing as the first runner-up in the Miss Universe Belize 2019 competition. She has remained in Belize and made substantial contributions to her community through Operation Kingdom, a non-profit founded by her and her family, as well as other endeavors, such as the publication of the poetry collection Belizean Blues. Destiny constantly brightens up a room with her charm and grace, which has helped her win the admiration of the Miss Earth contestants wherever she travels. We had a chance to meet Miss Earth during her visit to Miami (while being a guest speaker at the Latinx Travel Summit) and thought, who better to represent Earth Month, than Miss Earth herself.
What does Earth Month mean to you? I think every month should be earth month. We only have one planet earth and it’s so important that all of us do our part to protect her. In April we emphasize the importance and contributions of our mother Earth. We rally together to combat the climate crisis and we use our voices and our platforms to spread awareness of the current state of our planet but most importantly ignite change.
What motivated you to become Miss Earth? I have subconsciously been preparing for that position my entire life. My father is a farmer and from a young age I knew the importance of sustainable agriculture. Aside from that I’ve always wanted to represent my country in any capacity. Belize is so small yet so mighty and oftentimes we are unrecognized.
I was willing to do everything in my power to bring pride to my nation and with my background as a diver and farming advocate, it just made sense. The youth right now need positive role models and it was a great opportunity to represent my country and highlight our environmental efforts.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey? The most rewarding part has to be the people that I’ve met along the way. Emerging into different cultures and trying new foods around the world has been a dream come true. Every country
offers a different experience however, there’s so many commonalities and Miss Earth gave me the opportunity to see that. Although we differ, we are not that far off from one another.
How do you live a sustainable lifestyle? I know people hear “small efforts can make huge changes” and I agree with that statement. Something as simple as unplugging your charger from the outlet when it’s not in use, having reusable bags and water bottles is significant. However, the easiest method I incorporate in my day to day life would have to be shopping. We live in a world dominated by consumerism. So supporting local business instead of unethical manufacturing companies contributes to a greener economy and society.
What are some of your fav local Miami sustainable brands? Miami is so diverse and caters to many different cultures and groups. One thing I love about Miami is how ecofriendly the restaurants are when it comes to sourcing their food. Sanguich is a cuban restaurant that locally sources their ingredients and preserves the cuban culture. I also love Lime and Cocoa gift baskets. They are filled with unique gifts that are custom and ethical. Miami is the hub for diversity and entrepreneurship and I encourage everyone to go support their friends' businesses.
Were you always sustainably conscious? From a young age I knew the importance of protecting our environment. However, I didn’t know The significant role that we humans play. When I won Miss Earth in 2021 it definitely enhanced my knowledge and perception and allowed me to reflect more as an individual. I knew the importance of supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs for economic reasoning. However I didn’t know the sustainable reasoning. Small businesses don’t mass produce and they’re less likely to use additives and preservatives to make their products last long. Everyday I’m learning something new and applying it to
my everyday life.
How have you contributed to raising environmental awareness and offering climate solutions to better this Earth? I made sure to align myself with decision makers within government as well as non-government organizations. My platform has given me a voice so I work as an ambassador to promote sustainable tourism, marine conservation and education. I fulfill my duties by being on
the forefront of different campaigns visiting schools and being an active member in my community.
What are ways you can share with us on how we can all help love our planet better? I think gardening is a great way to start! Not only are we planting more trees in the world but we’re learning to live off the land and it’s so therapeutic.
What are some sustainable improvements you feel we've done as a whole, if any? Technology has played a huge part. Although it seems to be taking over the world, if used correctly we can lower our carbon footprint. With many advancements like solar panels and electric cars, we are able to limit the amount of gas going into our ozone layer. More technological advances such as those can shift the conversation of the climate crisis.
What are some ways you will be celebrating Earth Month? This year I will be working closely with the Belize Tourism Board to spread awareness of our Great Barrier Reef! We really are striving to promote and educate others on the importance of having a blue economy. Water is the source of life! Without it we can survive, and would have limited food and oxygen. Reefs don’t get the credit they deserve and they contribute so much to our well being. Aside from marine campaigns, I will be planting trees within my community!
Any projects in the works? I have renewed my contract as the sustainable tourism ambassador of Belize so I’m excited to continue my work. However, I I recently launched Seasoned Lingo Games LLC which aims to promote dialects and cultures around the world through fun card games. Our flagship game is “Weh yuh di seh?” which features the country of Belize and its local dialect kriol/creole. When many people think of preservation they typically think of earth and our planet, However it’s really important that we as individuals preserve our cultures and dialects as well.