Rising Up

Published on Feb. 26 2020


Various environmental groups on campus are working to combat climate change.

By Sara Giretto

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It can be hard to ignore the constant headlines in the news informing us about the climate crisis we are currently in. From rising temperatures as our climate heats up, to rising sea levels as our ice caps continue to melt, some students are beginning to rise up to advocate for the environment and bring more nature into our school and community.


“When I found out we have about 12 years [to save the environment] I was literally like, wow, I need to do something,” junior Alyssa Hannah said.


With various wildfires having occurred in California, mass wildfires burning in Australia, and worsening air and water quality seen in places such as Flint, Michigan, our climate is currently in a detrimental state. The effects of these events have been devastating. For example, in Australia alone, an estimated 1 billion animals and 25 people have died according to the New York Times as of Jan. 11th, 2020.


This type of environmental destruction has prompted various students to take action to try to preserve our environment. From environmental activism, to senior Civic Action Projects, to after school groups and clubs, some Dons are getting involved to reverse this damage to our climate.


Hannah thinks motivation to take action can stem from many different sources. For Hannah, she took a lot of inspiration from her history teacher Kaedon Peters. Peters is an environmental advocate, and through discussing how they want a more sustainable environment for the future of their child, Hannah’s passion for the environment began to form.


“I thank my history teacher Peters, they opened my eyes about climate change. I also want kids, and I thought of my own goddaughter, and what their futures are going to be like. I realized I needed to do something,” Hannah said.


Hannah decides to take her worries and fight for what she is passionate about. She is an active member in the Green Club at AHS, which advocates for the environment and spreads awareness surrounding climate change.


“We did protests and walkouts, and this year we are planning one too, we just don’t know when yet,” Hannah said.


Furthermore, there is another group that is cleaning up the environment in our community: Arroyo’s Earth Team. The Earth Team is a group consisting of 12 students who go around and clean up the local environment after school every week.


“We do clean ups, habitat restoration, and go to different places and test and clean up the water,” Earth Team member and sophomore Maria Pena said.


Pena believes groups like Arroyo’s Earth Team and the Green lub are very important to clean up and preserve our environment. Thus, she thinks that we should all start to get more involved with our environment.


“I think we should start by picking up trash. Last Tuesday, we did a clean up around the campus, and in less than an hour we had a whole trash bag filled with garbage. There really is a lot of garbage around campus,” Pena said.  


Some seniors at AHS are using their Civic Action Projects to aid the environment as well. For example, senior April Rodriguez is opting to bring more nature into AHS with her group’s project.


“We are basically making a garden so that we can benefit both the students and the environment. We could hopefully incorporate the food we grow into the school cafeteria, and get a greener environment around the school,” Rodriguez said.


With addressing as large and broad of an issue as climate change, some environmental advocates start by addressing the problems they see immediately around them. Rodriguez thinks that the Civic Action Project has allowed her and her group to both express their concern about the environment, and take action to fix it on a school campus level.


“We looked around the school and we saw that there wasn’t much of a green environment, it was pretty dry, so we wanted to fix that so that the school would look and feel a lot nicer and greener,” Rodriguez said.


Although natural disasters and global warming can appear to be large and intimidating issues, some high schoolers are proving that we have the ability to make an impact to try to address these problems. Hannah thinks it is important to do whatever you are capable of to fight for our planet and environment, and no action is too small.


“Small things make an impact too, you know, because with small things, at least you’re still doing what you can,” Hannah said. •

Illustration | Rafael Eugenio Dúran

How can you help the environment?

Talk to Your Local Politicians

Talk to local politicians such as Barbara Lee and Eric Swalwell, who ensure our voices are heard and can help initiate change.

Do Your Research

Look into eco-friendly lifestyles such as veganism and minimalism or simple swaps that can help reduce your contribution to climate change.

Take Action

An easy way to take action is by joining groups such as the Green Club and Earth Team, which take matters into their own hands to make an impact.