Sustainability at SHS by SSC Roving Reporter Charlotte Pototsky (age 15)

Students Speak Out: Sustainability at SHS!

A Two-Part article on SHS youth taking steps to help the planet.

Reporter: Charlotte Pototsky (With a few edits from Dr. Ricky Stern)

Anyone can be sustainable. The small conservation tasks we do in our daily lives can convert into a larger positive impact. Also, ‘doing our part’ makes us feel good! I began to wonder if other kids at Sharon High School (SHS) were adding sustainable practices to their lives to help the planet? I assume, for example, that by high school most students are aware of the effects of climate change.

I decided to talk to members of the SHS Environmental Club and ask them, “What are the things you are doing to live a more sustainable life?”

I began by asking Aneeza Ahmad, Club President, regarding what she does to help our planet. Here is what she said:

“I’ve been passionate about the planet since I was really young. I always loved gardening with my grandmother and going for walks. I loved animals and nature. But, it wasn’t until SHS that I really began learning about climate change, leading me to study other aspects of the environment. I joined the Environmental Club and SSC. SSC was a big influence on me. At home we started using Black Earth Compost and taking reusable bags to the grocery store. We also added solar panels to our house and bought an electric vehicle!

Now, I try to consider all my actions – wasting food, composting regularly, and reusing everything I can. I also take enviro-courses on my own time (for example, I studied sustainable investing).

In addition, I discuss environmental issues with friends. I see that being genuinely passionate about the planet affects others! Friends tell me they reconsidered climate change after hearing my views. That means the world to me! It’s crazy how small actions can change how others think. We all have that power!

With many new members I’m excited to do bigger tasks this year, which will be fun!” Aneeza is doing many cool acs that are having a positive impact on Earth!

Next, I interviewed Angel Liang and Avani Pai. Angel, a freshman, said: “I use my bike as my transit rather than driving, I don’t eat lots of meat, and I drink plant milk instead of cow’s milk.” Avani adds: “I buy environmentally friendly products. For example, I buy my accessories from 4ocean.” 4ocean is an apparel company. Their products are made from mainly recycled resources and materials that are environmentally and socially responsibly sourced.

Also, central to the future, is the need to lower carbon emissions. Example: by choosing plant-based rather than animal-derived materials, you save lives of beings, as well as, resources like water, land, and energy.

An environmental club member states: “I believe spreading awareness of the global climate crisis can make a difference. If every person takes part in helping rather than harming the planet, that is true change. I eat vegan, and use reusable bags to avoid plastic bags and bottles. I also try to travel by bike, or walk, run, carpool, or take public transit to minimize pollution.

The pandemic has shown that with less cars on the road, the world has started to heal. If this continues, perhaps, post-Covid-19, more people will use cars using battery energy. That would definitely be a success for the planet!”

Wow! These are some very clear and accurate points! Switching to renewable energy resources can lower your carbon footprint substantially.

On another important tack, we spoke to our friends on activism – here are the thoughts of one member.

 Kayla Schechter, a Junior at SHS, shared her ‘Activism Trajectory’:

“My journey with educating myself about the environment really began at the beginning of last year at the climate justice rally in September. Marching with teachers and peers was a really cool experience that opened my eyes to my civic and global duty.

After that incredible event, I joined the Sunrise Movement, an organization that promotes both environmental awareness and social justice. I had positive experiences with both the strike circle at SHS and the Blue Hills Sunrise hub where I organized, planned, and attended events to spread our message. I also met others who were passionate about the environment.

I took different classes and leadership programs that Sunrise offered. These let me understand the crisis from a national perspective.

The way in which I try to contribute is through education. I think that understanding the pivotal role that our generation plays in the climate crisis is crucial to mobilizing around and combating issues. With Sunrise, I work to educate others on a community and a national level.”

End of Part One of 2-part article.

 As always, please feel free to share your thoughts on clean energy or how you live sustainably. Here are three ways to make your viewpoints known and keep the conversation going:

  1. Join SSC the first Wednesday of every month
  2. Email me personally at EnvironmentalConsulationsNow@gmail.com
  3. Visit or comment on my personal blog here.