By Natalia Armenta, student at High Tech High Media Arts School
By 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. Sea level and carbon emissions will be at a breaking point. As we stare into the face of adversity, today’s youth are the most at risk due to an unsustainable future. We need to build support in our communities, cities, and across generations to rise to action and protect our future.
I am currently a high school junior at High Tech High Media Arts (HTHMA). I am also a climate advocate. At our school we have an environmental club called Students for the Environment. We are a group of students actively calling to take action against environmental issues. We have been able to implement changes in our school system by connecting with local organizations focused on composting, waste reduction and ocean conservation. In the beginning, we faced challenges such as funding and getting the directors on board with our action plans. As we addressed these challenges, we have been able to accomplish our goals and move forward with our plans as activists.
One of the main events put together by the HTHMA Students for the Environment is the climate change walkout. On September 20, 2019 we gathered all the HTHMA students in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego to strike for change. Students were gathered together with signs made in support of fighting the climate crisis. We stood together in unity but also to empower one another. At the start of the walkout, students were encouraged to share speeches, poems, and creative writing pieces. This day was a representation of the power youth can have in pushing for change and inspiring those who can vote to support our future. This year we won’t be able to host another walkout, but we are still striving to create change in our own communities.
Our climate change walkout was a success, but we have encountered other obstacles due to the unprecedented times we are living in. So far we have been unable to continue with our project to make our educational space a green space. This is a big setback but we continue to spread our message. We were able to build a website for the Students for the Environment Club. Through our website, we are encouraging our members to write about things they care about and to educate others on living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. We cover topics such as world news, daily sustainable choices, and activities for all ages. The website creates a platform for reaching out to a larger audience outside our school and showing the overwhelming importance of climate change action.
I was able to learn about Ocean Connectors for the first time during a climate change meeting held virtually. The Ocean Connectors mission to engage local youth in helping the planet really resonated with me because of the importance of educating the next generation. Ocean Connectors provides resources and hands-on learning opportunities that uplift and support the growing needs of local youth.
Students for the Environment encourages others to set out to create change in their own community. Reaching out to students, family, or friends can be a great step to connect with other passionate activists. Climate change impacts everything, and it won’t stop on its own – we must take action before it’s too late. We must fight for our oceans, animals, land, and human health. Today’s youth and the next generation need support from all levels of society to protect our future.