Student Environmental Leadership

Student Environmental Leadership

Young environmental advocates play a key role in the clean energy transition through their power to inspire change and transform the world for the better. To empower young leaders, Archie Williams High School, a public secondary school in San Anselmo, offers Students of the Environment Academy Doing Interdisciplinary Studies Curricula (SEA-DISC). This two-year environmental and social justice energy academy for juniors and seniors focuses on real-world solutions for a more sustainable and just future.

Meet the Marin Students Advocating for Clean Energy

We spoke with SEA-DISC students who are advocating for the use of Deep Green 100% renewable energy and learned why environmental activism is important to them.

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Ella B., Kvothe, Ben, Kira, and Ella H.

Ella H.

I decided to join SEA-DISC when I was a junior because I have always loved spending time in and learning about the natural world. I felt a responsibility to take action to defend our world from the harmful effects of climate change, especially the marginalized communities who are most impacted. I have an internship/independent study with MCE, where I learn about what MCE is doing to create renewable energy options, while also promoting social justice. When the energy unit began, I joined the “100% renewable energy” group and proposed the idea of promoting MCE Deep Green to our local businesses. I believe that Deep Green 100% renewable energy will be part of an energy transition that will stave off the effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution. The mass switch to renewable energy will bring about the creation of jobs and a better world for future generations. On April 12, I look forward to speaking to the San Anselmo Town Council and Economic Development Committee about our proposal to create a monetary incentive for businesses to opt up to Deep Green. I also look forward to continuing to push for a more sustainable community.

Ella B.

I didn’t grow up in a family who was involved in climate action. Rather, I was influenced by a friend who persuaded me to become a vegetarian in freshman year. Since then, I joined SEA-DISC, participated in climate marches, and got a Greenstitch climate internship. I am continuing my passion by studying conservational science in university. Through our SEA-DISC energy project, I have found a new way that I can help my community and create a better world for future generations. We decided to focus on persuading San Anselmo business owners to convert to MCE 100% renewable energy, also known as Deep Green. I have learned so much about this energy service and how it can help create a greener future. I hope that, by doing this project, we can push more businesses and Marin residences to switch to Deep Green.

Kvothe

My involvement with eco-centric activism started with my mother. Starting when she was around my age, she advocated for the environment in her home community in Mexico City, where the idea of environmentalism still remains taboo. While raising my brother and me, she kept the environment in the forefront, and she took care to teach us about the importance of caring about and protecting the earth. In 2010, we moved to this lovely community of San Anselmo that cares so much about the environment. Now, I have taken my own initiative to advocate for the planet and marginalized communities. I participate in internships, rallies, and protests, and I seek out other opportunities for learning and community service. My family continues to be eco-conscious and takes passive measures in the household to lessen our impact, like enrolling in Deep Green and eating a plant-based diet.

Kira

I am a long-time resident of Marin County and have always been connected to nature. I became aware of the need to take action for our environment early on and have worked hard to make a difference in my community. One big part of my effort was joining SEA-DISC to learn more about the science and social justice behind the environment. I have worked with environmental lawyers, the California Coastal Commission, and youth-led political awareness campaigns to do my part to help our earth. Now I am trying to make a real change in my community by advocating to switch businesses in my town to MCE Deep Green.

Ben

My climate activism began with working at my school’s garden, where I discovered how beautiful the environment around me was and how important it is to protect it. In my junior year of high school, I joined SEA-DISC and began my internship at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center, where I worked on climate activism and education in my community. Now, as I finish my senior year, I have more passion than ever before when it comes to stopping climate change. With the knowledge that I gained by joining SEA-DISC, I realized that MCE Deep Green is a powerful tool to counteract climate change.

Learn About the Students’ Experience on an MCE Field Trip

MCE recently took SEA-DISC students on a tour of local renewable energy projects, including Redwood Landfill, Cooley Quarry, and MCE Solar Charge. The tour, led by MCE’s Principal Power Procurement Manager David Potovsky, provided hands-on experience to complement the SEA-DISC energy unit. Ellarie, Hailey, and Mia share their experience.

Ellarie

The tour was very engaging, and I liked being able to learn outside and hang out together while we learned. It was nice to be doing something relevant to our topic. It was also educational, but it didn’t feel like difficult tasks like we’re used to doing in class. It was enlightening to see sustainable energy being used in our community.

Hailey and Mia

As students who have dedicated a large portion of our high school careers to environmental studies and climate justice, we discovered that getting out into the field is highly enriching and incredibly important. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t had the opportunity to apply our studies and practices to local and real-world settings until now.

Our recent visit to the MCE project sites and offices gave us the opportunity to experience relevant topics in a way that’s applicable to the world around us, without the barriers of COVID-restricted learning.  Touring the Redwood Landfill, learning about the types of solar arrays at Cooley Quarry, and seeing MCE’s solar parking lot inspired us to continue to learn how to be part of the future of sustainable energy. We were able to better understand our own energy choices, and we returned to the classroom with a refreshed perspective and an enthusiasm to make a difference.

We also had the opportunity to talk to David Potovsky about ideas for our projects, connecting key concepts that we’ve learned in class, and inspiring us to think outside the textbook. In learning about the sites at MCE (for example, the solar car charging stations), we were also able to develop ideas for possible future projects at Archie Williams. MCE has given us an opportunity to explore these passions through a lens we hadn’t previously experienced.

MCE is committed to uplifting the young leaders in our community. Visit our Because Of Youth page to learn more.

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