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  • Kim Jelfs

The GreenTeam Message: Pick Your Way To Conserve But Do Something!

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Congratulations to the Los Altos High School Green Team for hosting an outstanding “Students for Green High Scho ols” conference on February 5, 2022! In its ninth year (and second time held virtually), this student-led annual event provides a platform for local student groups to discuss environmental issues, brainstorm ideas, and share resources. The overall theme for this year’s conference was conservation.

On the impressive speaker panel and joining live via Zoom from the Netherlands was Dr. Irene Dedoussi, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Focusing on the environmental impact from aviation, her presentation was educational and thought provoking. Who knew that changing an aircraft’s flight plan could mitigate its environmental impact? Or that business class has a higher environmental footprint than coach as it requires more space per passenger?

After a short break, attendees were divided into seven break-out rooms to discuss land ecosystems, marine ecosystems, water waste, urban waste, energy, agricultural waste, and Indigenous communities. Green Team leads kept the discussions lively and tracked collaborative input.

The second speaker was Dartmouth College student Amanda Sun (Homestead HS alum). Sun’s youth-run nonprofit Green2Go works with universities to replace their 8-plus million single-use plastics per year with reusable alternatives. Launched just a few months ago, Green2Go is already implemented in more than 20 universities, including Stanford and UC Santa Barbara. Wow!

After Sun’s presentation, attendees shared their break-out room presentations. I was impressed by the knowledge and passion from these students! Discussions included monocropping, ocean acidification, fast fashion, and the increased waste of all kinds during the pandemic. Students suggested action items for their schools such as adding solar panels, fixing water leaks, adding water bottle refill stations, supporting school gardens by including photography and other groups, and educating students on trash/compost sorting and the importance of reducing food waste. Good ideas for homes as well.

Youth activist Peri Plantenburg (Homestead HS) wrapped up the conference with an energized presentation and call to action. As student leader of Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action, Plantenburg has been involved in creating a climate change curriculum that has reached more than 8,000 HS students and more than 240 teachers. The group also offers a workshop to help students advocate for a climate action plan at their school. Wow again!

The message from our youth came through loud and clear — the time to act is NOW! Let’s do all we can to join them in the fight against climate change! Email us here with your ideas which we will share on our social media.

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