Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole, from Long Beach, California. She is a Senior at California Academy of Mathematics and Science, where the Human, Environmental, and Animal Rights Club participated in our 2019 Waste Campaign.
Welcome Nicole, thank you so much for sharing your Waste Campaign experience with us! To begin, we would love to hear about what inspired or motivated you to join a Grades of Green Campaign?
These days, it’s difficult to come by the news without hearing about an effect of climate change, especially in Southern California. I have always tried to make an effort to help preserve our environment on a daily basis through my own actions, but was always curious about ways I could help on a larger scale. A friend of mine introduced me to Grades of Green through his own experiences with the water campaign. I was interested in the leadership opportunities that Grades of Green gave young individuals like me and signed up for the waste campaign.
What local environmental issues did your sustainability solution address?
My team at the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS) worked on the issue of textile waste. The textile industry contributes heavily towards waste production. In fact, the EPA states that the total amount of textile waste generated in 2013 was 15.1 million pounds. From this, only 2.3 million pounds of waste were repurposed, and the rest was discarded. Everyone wears clothes and uses towels at home. Yet, very few people actually know how textile waste is present in our lives. We presented 3 times at CAMS to teach students how to upcycle, share textiles, and raise awareness. Additionally, we held 2 clothing drives where people shared their used clothes. Diverting textile waste helped younger generations like the members in the Human Environmental and Animal Rights (HEAR) Club team make a change within our community with something as simple as textiles.
From your experience during the Grades of Green Campaign, what is one thing, an action, or a moment, that you are most proud of?
One moment that I am most proud of was when my team was recognized for our efforts at the Impact-A-Thon. Presenting at this event to other teams was an unforgettable experience because I got to reflect on all of my team’s accomplishments. After a semester of working on the campaign, it felt like we had really made an impact. Seeing teams from around the world with the same goals of making the most out of what is considered “waste” was very empowering.
How will you use your leadership skills and environmental knowledge to further your goals, now that the Campaign is over?
Our team is committed to the goal of diverting textile waste at CAMS through holding more clothing drives. We believe that textile waste is an undermined threat to the well being of our environment and want to continue raising awareness. We will also be participating in the Fall Campaign because of the wonderful experience we had with Grades of Green. Next semester, we will expand our team so that more students at our school can learn about Grades of Green as well.
What’s one piece of advice you would like to share with Eco-Leaders joining the next Grades of Green Campaign?
My advice to other Eco-Leaders is to take advantage of the knowledge that your mentors have to share. Our mentor, Cathy, provided us with many resources we needed to excel in this year’s Waste Campaign such as weekly facts about textile waste. Thanks to her guidance, we were able to finish as finalists in the Waste Campaign. Having someone to rely on when we had questions was essential to our success.
Nicole, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! Your team did an incredible job and we are so happy to share it with other students and educators. We look forward to working with California Academy of Mathematics and Science, and the HEAR Club, in our 2019 Fall Campaign!