By Beatrix Berry
Students at Marin School of Environmental Leadership are taking their environmental knowledge and passion outside of the classroom and into the community. Throughout the summer several MarinSEL students partnered with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to engage the youth community through a Youth Action Team, and they are continuing their work into this school year.
In the past few months, twelve students representing five schools joined the CCL Youth Action Team. Organized by MarinSEL student Harita Kalvai, this team met regularly at Panera Bread every other Saturday morning throughout the summer. During this time, students worked with CCL on a documentary spotlighting underrepresented communities in the face of the climate crisis. They had the opportunity to work with several filmmakers throughout California and are continuing to develop the script for the film. In the coming months, they will interview people in Paradise, California who were devastatingly impacted by the Camp Fire in 2018.
In addition to supporting their documentary project, the Youth Action Team has also been actively calling senators, meeting with local representatives, and focusing on incorporating art into environmental activism. With the start of a new school year, the youth team is brainstorming new project ideas. Currently, they are working on a Climate Art Competition which they hope to make into an annual event. They will be targeting young people in Marin County but all are invited to participate in creating art that answers the question, “What do you think the world will look like in 50 years?”
Harita Kalvai has been the main coordinator for the Youth Action Team. Harita, a current 11th grader in MarinSEL, recently took on the role of National Youth Coordinator, leading national outreach for the United States CCL Youth Action Team. She is also organizing the new California Youth Action team alongside four other students from northern and southern California. The California Youth Action team is focused on wildfire prevention and education on wildfire risks and prevention in schools. This year, she has been selected as a US representative for CCL’s Annual Climate Summit.
The CCL Youth Action Team displays the impact of students stepping into their power, empowering other young community members, and working with the community to carry out climate action projects during this pivotal time.
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