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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Land O Lakes, Florida, USA

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Land O Lakes, Florida, USA
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LakesDweller



Registered: April 2018
City/Town/Province: Land O Lakes
Posts: 1
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I believe strongly there is no problem our society faces larger than climate change. Drought, floods, famine, war, disease, animal extinction and massive human migration all relate back to climate change. So, I looked in dismay at the sign-up sheet for AP Environmental Science and couldn't help but swallow back my emotions. It was blank. I was the only IB student to sign up for the class while all 88 of my classmates chose one of two other electives. Why didn't anyone else sign up? Don't they care about climate change? Even my friends who said they'd do it with me didn't register. Are they really my friends?


I realize now it was for the best. I went ahead and took Environmental Science, but at the time the blank sheet instilled feelings of betrayal for myself and the planet that I had never felt before. I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't be interested in something so fundamentally important to our society and yet, they clearly didn't see things as I did. I'd been running a neighborhood recycling company I founded to help the planet and raise money for the animal shelter since age 10. How hard could this really be to convince others how important correcting climate change is?


Admittedly, I'm an environmental activist so the environmental class was elementary as far as information goes, but I got something out of taking it that I didn't expect. I learned where my 'baseline' interest level in solving climate change was. I realized I have a long way to go in convincing others what an enormous problem it is that so many do not recycle or (gasp!) even believe climate change is real. The blank sign up page was a reality check. Because of it, I refocused my efforts in educating people through blogging and seminars about all the things they can do to help prevent climate change. I decided to start 'younger' and went to the middle school to speak to students about everything from planting trees to how much energy is saved by recycling one aluminum can. I formed a new 'Green Club' at school so I could locate everyone who also wanted to make change happen and help educate others. I joined the school Model United Nations Club so I could learn diplomacy and UN climate policy, becoming the club president my senior year. I started using social media as a platform for change and learned how to communicate effectively and exponentially with it. I located the most wasteful and visible public buildings in the county, (the libraries), and started a campaign with the full support of library management to bring them to LEED status through awareness, social media fundraising, television, newspaper, and government grants. Ultimately I was able to get a $9 million bond vote added to the November ballot to bring ALL the county libraries to LEED status by convincing county leadership they're a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars in their current state. I solidified my goals more carefully on not just environmental science, but the politics of climate change, sustainability and public policy in college understanding that more of correcting this problem may fall to me than I initially thought.


Given the volume and scope of climate change issues, I most certainly will have my work cut out for me. What I have learned and why I know I will succeed, is that I now see obstacles as learning opportunities, challenges as modifications, and disappointments as temporary. I accept that many will not support capital improvements simply because they cut a carbon footprint, but they will if they stand to gain financially. The key is to prove to the planet's citizens that energy efficiency and capital improvements and policy change to support them do both. Policy changes for everything from the curbing of plastics use to car emissions globally are essential to curing the climate change predicament we all face. I plan to focus on Environmental Policy and Sustainability at Princeton University in the fall to make this happen, hopefully from a position of United Nations diplomat or policy making within the U.S. government. I have the experience, determination and focus to face my task head on. All I lack now is the degree that gains credibility and access to a much larger platform. I'm excited for all the positive changes I have yet to make.
Date: April 6, 2018 Views: 40 File size: 19.9kb, 3790.6kb : 3968 x 2976
Hours Volunteered: 310
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
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