Young climate activists take action
April 19, 2023
All over the world, different climate activists like Greta Thunberg remind world leaders that global concerns such as global warming are serious matters that need to be acted on immediately.
Similar to Thunberg, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) activists, including senior Samantha Willett are reminding students that if everybody doesn’t make changes to their everyday life, the already deteriorating environment is going to worsen.
“If you look at it right now, our world is already in shambles and if we don’t do anything now, it’s gonna just get worse later in the future,” Willett said.
Once being a part of the organization Valley Changemakers, a non-profit organization that gives students from high schools in San Fernando Valley an opportunity to complete community service, Willett went to nearby parks including Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area to pick up trash and plant trees in order to preserve the nature that was living in the park. She was motivated by posts she saw on social media about the negative consequences of climate change to make a difference herself.
“I think if we prevent it now, we can save what we have later,” said Willett, who joined Valley Changemakers last year during her junior year and still remains in the organization.
While some students like Willett clean public spaces, others contribute to the tidying of school grounds. Sophomore Deven Szymczak sees the benefits of helping the environment thrive because when walking around school, he sees firsthand the amount of trash that’s scattered around courtyards.
“I help with the trash for animal life and plant life since they’re a part of all of our lives,” Szymczak said.
Szymczak also takes initiative with decreasing plant life by planting a variety of fruits such as oranges at home. He always knew of the ailing environment but was never aware of how serious it was until recently.
“A year ago when there was a drought and it was extremely hot, I heard from some friends of mine about how harsh climate change was,” Szymczak said.
Sophomore Francesca Sisk, who was also in Valley Changemakers, tries to be more eco-friendly with the things she buys and uses on a daily basis. An example of this is her water bottle, which is a Hydro Flask.
“I try to be more eco-friendly by using eco-friendly things like my water bottle here that helps create a little less pollution,” Sisk said.
Sisk has always felt that helping our environment was essential to the planet’s well-being and that feeling of obligation grew during her time in the Valley Changemakers organization last year. Now, Sisk realizes that doing her part protects not only the environment but homes and lives.
“Our environment is important because we’re living in it, so the worse we make our climate and environment, the harder it is for us to live,” Sisk said as she recounted the dangerous consequences of The Willow Project, an oil drilling project set to add 239 million metric tons of carbon emissions to the atmosphere in Alaska.
She says this project will worsen climate change and that world leaders need to be considerate about the outcomes of the effects of the project.
“Even though Biden is doing this project to get more oil to help our economy, he needs to think about the long term effects of his decisions,” Sisk said.
Willett also understands the consequences of not taking immediate action because the more current generations destroy, the less future generations will have. She adds that it was not meant for Earth to have so many structures such as buildings and factories, which have only contributed to the climate crisis.
“The least we can do is maintain our land such as trees, grass, and our oceans,” Willett said. “Just being mindful of simple things like recycling or how to reuse things can really just help. Even if it’s a small thing, it’s going to be a bigger product eventually.”