#BecauseOfYouth Spotlight: Ella Heimbrodt

#BecauseOfYouth Spotlight: Ella Heimbrodt

The #BecauseofYouth Spotlight series highlights young environmentalists in MCE’s service area who are leading the fight against climate change.

Ella is a senior at Archie Williams High School and a member of Students of the Environment Academy Doing Interdisciplinary Studies Curricula (SEA-DISC). In collaboration with her fellow classmates, Ella has been advocating for local businesses to opt up to Deep Green 100% renewable energy.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a senior at Archie Williams High School in San Anselmo and a member of SEA-DISC Academy. I am very passionate about being a member of Peer Resource, a leadership group on campus that focuses on the health and wellness of the students in our community. I also just finished my internship/independent study with MCE, under CEO Dawn Weisz. I learned about MCE’s key role in creating opportunities for environmental justice, while providing renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of customers in California’s energy industry. I love to spend time with my friends and family, be in nature, read, and bake and cook.

Why did you join the fight for a more sustainable future?

I have the privilege to enjoy the beauty of the natural world every day. I feel a responsibility to work toward a future where everyone, especially the marginalized communities who are most impacted, will be able to experience this joy without the fear of losing it.

What have you learned as part of SEA-DISC?

SEA-DISC is a collaborative learning academy based in environmental studies and social justice. It’s deeply rooted in the philosophy of hands-on learning through field trips, research projects, and internships. Even when school went online during COVID, we found ways to collaborate and apply what we were learning. My favorite part about SEA-DISC is that, unlike other classes, we aren’t simply memorizing content from textbooks. Instead, we’re becoming involved informants within our larger community. Joining SEA-DISC was the best academic choice I made in high school, and I encourage students to get involved in opportunities like this.

Can you tell us about your work advocating for 100% renewable energy? Why are these initiatives important to you?

Our most recent SEA-DISC project was focused on sustainable energy. With the knowledge I obtained from my internship, I formed a group within SEA-DISC to promote MCE Deep Green to San Anselmo businesses. Our goal was to encourage the Town Council to consider creating a monetary incentive for businesses to opt up to Deep Green. Collaborating with multiple stakeholders and presenting our proposal at a Town Council meeting, we have received interest in our project and hope to write a grant proposal for the Town of San Anselmo soon. I am invested in helping our town switch to Deep Green because it will play a large role in staving off the effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution for generations.

Why is it important for youth to use their voices to create change?

The issues we see in the world today are going to affect current and future generations. Although many adults ignore global climate change, we no longer have that luxury. The voices of the younger generations will be the most powerful and influential in creating change that will positively affect our world.

What advice would you tell someone who thinks that they can’t make a difference in the fight against climate change?

Before I joined SEA-DISC, I thought this way. However, now I realize that the adults I collaborated with were surprisingly receptive to my team’s proposal. They went to great lengths to help us reach our goal. If you’re passionate about a cause and put in the effort and research to propose a course of action to the right people, you will be taken seriously as an agent of change.

What’s next for you?

Next fall, I will be attending the University of California, Berkeley and plan to study Sustainable Environmental Design. I look forward to continuing to advocate for climate justice as my resources and opportunities expand.

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