by Lucy Knopf (Class of 2021)

As everyone knows, this year’s senior internships look very different than how they have been in the past. It is one thing to adjust to managing a business/organization during a pandemic, and it is another thing to make those same adjustments with the addition of a few high school interns that also require managing. With that recognition, and I’m not sure if the supervisors are going to read these blog posts, but I would like to say thank you for continuing to put in the time and effort that allow for us to succeed and be of use in our internships. 

When it comes to my personal internship, I am in a group with three other interns. Because of this, our internship is likely a little different than our other classmates’ internships, as we are working together as a team to complete tasks and work on projects. We are currently working on a project called the Canal Arts Initiative, in which we are working on developing and designing a series of art installments in one of the most diverse communities of Marin County, with a 78.9% Hispanic population, 13.1% White population, 5.1% Asian population, and 2% African American population. Right now, this community is disproportinately suffering from COVID-19 with over half of Marin County’s COVID cases located in the Canal. This is largely because the highly concentrated population lacks access to resources and protection, all due to the racial injustices that are prevalent in Marin County. This is also due to the fact that the majority of the residents are essential workers and have no choice but to expose themselves and their families simply to stay afloat. 

The people that make up the Canal are one of the reasons Marin County is considered a great place to live, however, they rarely get the credit for it. These mothers and fathers run small businesses that communities rely on, they work in the grocery stores which has undoubtedly become one of the most difficult jobs in the past many months, as well as many other jobs that have been deemed undesirable--yet are essential. The Canal is often neglected by the City of San Rafael and Marin County in general. This community deserves the recognition and celebration of its various cultures. 

We plan to highlight local artists that are from or have a connection to the Canal Area, and work alongside them to produce art that is representative of their community and its people, placing the installments on and around areas of significance to the people of the Canal, as it is their home. It is with this project that I have felt excited in a way that I haven’t felt in the past. I feel as though this project is so valuable, while also exciting and creative. With this excitement has come my yearning for its quick completion, which is unrealistic for a project of its nature, as coordinating with the County of Marin officials and completing the entire design, development, and production of such a project takes many months and is not something to be rushed. 

Through the progress that we have made so far, I have learned to have more patience and precision, and to recognize where time is necessary and important to the success and completion of the task. I have learned to move slowly and intentionally through each essential step, putting real effort and care into the individual pieces of the vast puzzle that is the Canal Arts Initiative. With this developing skill, I am beginning to be more thoughtful with my work while continuing to feel excited and motivated. I believe that this is a skill that will prove itself to be very valuable in the future, not to say that I will use it effortlessly in every instance, as I am still learning and will continue to indefinitely. 

 

by Anna Foehr (Class of 2022)

So far, creating my locally sourced soap business “Bee Clean” has been a powerful and educational experience. I have already learned so much and I feel better prepared to enter the business world. Primarily, I came up with this business idea after a couple of failed attempts at other business ideas. I knew I wanted to go down the path of beeswax products and work to make my product as locally sourced and sustainable as possible. Initially I wanted to create a stress revealing beeswax candle business. However after discussing the idea with Cyane, I realized it lacked the environmental aspect. After a few more ideas in that general area, I landed on my “Bee Clean” brand. This idea was very feasible due to the fact that I had pre-existing relationships with beekeepers/farmers in the bee business. I knew that I would be able to get the supplies I needed and make sure it was locally sourced. I also knew that I had personal experience with making soap, and seed paper which would be my zero waste alternative to packaging. 

In order to determine if there was interest in the idea, I evaluated the current state of our world and the need for soap. In addition to that I took notice of the current political climate and the peaked interest in buying local/supporting the environment. To determine my target market, I researched the general group of people who would purchase soap for their households. At that point I was able to narrow it down to environmentally conscious mothers who were between the ages of 30-70. 

I determined that my idea was financially feasible by carefully pricing out the materials I would need, the fees I would need to pay and how I would price my item. I did this with the help of general research, public feedback, polls, and reaching out to other existing organizations in a similar business. I knew that in order to compete with other soap companies, I needed something that they didn’t have. On top of being zero waste, locally sourced, environmentally conscious and bee friendly I still needed more in order to compete. For my business I figured out that if I was able to have strong communication with my consumer regarding exactly what scents, shapes, sizes and even logos they wanted I could have a leg up on the other companies. 

Another important aspect I had to consider was SWOT. Also known as my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This was very important information for me to have so that I could predict potential problems and brainstorm solutions. I was able to find out what my weaknesses and threats were by basic research and public input. However, I worked off of that and made my strengths and opportunities clear as well. 

Although “Bee Clean” is still very much in the works, and I have a lot more work to do, I think I am on the right track. By staying true to myself and my value/mission statement I know that I will produce products that are of high quality. In addition, with the help and support of my teachers, peers and family I know that I have a strong group of people who will push me to do my best.

 

by Annie Sung (Class of 2024)

Because MSEL is an environment focused school, all of my classes revolve around this green and blue planet and the issues we must fix. In Seminar, we work with our LEAD groups to provide solutions for global issues such as recycling, gardening, air quality, microbeads, and wildfires. In groups of five to six people, we work every zero period seminar class to gather our research and create our project proposals. Working on our LEAD projects helps us better establish relationships with our fellow classmates and creates connections that we have never had before, such as the LEAD community partners and government officials. 

In English, we study and write poetry. A couple of our poems were about the environment and as we completed our “Poetry Slam” (friendly poetry competition with MSEL judges), I got to hear many opinions about our climate and how the Earth is changing. It was very heartwarming to hear that even in English, everyone wrote poems about how we loved the environment and how we can work forward to fix it. 

In Biology, we are learning about climate change and global warming. We were able to learn from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training presentation and got to hear more information about greenhouse gases, heat waves, changes in the polar jet stream, sea level rise, permafrost melt, wildfires, droughts, and extreme weather. Through MSEL Biology, we get to hear the most accurate information and the truth to climate change. 

In World Geography, we are currently studying water, and are proposing ways to help save and clean water in the U.S. This project really helps us have a better understanding of California’s water crisis and the proposed ideas and plants out in the world. With the four MSEL classes I have, I learn so much more detailed and in depth knowledge about climate change from my teachers and get to hear so many more concrete and intriguing opinions from my classmates.

 

by Olivia Brewster (Class of 2024) 

My name is Olivia Brewster, I am a freshman at the Marin School of Environmental Leadership. In all of my MarinSEL classes, teachers are giving us tests or projects that are supposed to summarize what we have learned so far. 

In Seminar, we don’t have a specific midterm test or project, instead we are currently working on our project proposals for our LEAD Projects. This means, as a group, creating a thorough plan for our project, and creating a slides presentation with all of the information clearly displayed. I am in the Wildfire Preparedness group, and so far our project has been quite enjoyable. We have already written our LEAD Papers, and as a group we have presented our project to the San Rafael CCAP (Climate Change Action Plan). The purpose of CCAP meetings is to hear about what various groups and committees are doing to combat and prepare for climate change. At the meeting there were about 50 people, including the Vice Mayor of San Rafael. My group attended the meeting to present our project and get some advice. We were given about two minutes to explain what we have done with our project and what we are going to do in the future. After we gave our presentation, people on the Zoom call (including the Vice Mayor) asked questions about our project. I would say that the call was successful and informative. These meetings are quarterly, so we won’t see them until 2021! 

In my english class, we are going to have a test on poetry. For the past week or so, we have been learning about different poetic tools, while analyzing and reading poems. We have read Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and so many more. We have also written original poems then presented them in a Poetry Slam, where a winner is going to be chosen (we had a five way tie for first place, the tie breaker is next week!). 

In my biology class, my teacher has decided to do a project that we have yet to find out about. Recently in class, we have been learning about photosynthesis and cellular respiration, and we are beginning to look more into climate change. Before this class I knew the basics of photosynthesis, but this year I have learned a lot more. It can be very difficult to understand these types of things in a virtual environment, because normally we would be doing lots of labs. Thankfully, my teacher understands how difficult it is, and is always willing to answer questions and review anything. I also ask my classmates for help, because they are often just as confused as I am, so we are able to help each other out. 

In my geography class, we are working on the Body of Water Pamphlet. Every student chose a body of water to research and make a pamphlet about. The pamphlets should be like the types of pamphlets that you would find in an airport or travel agency. They should give the reader a general understanding of the body of water, without overloading them with information. For my pamphlet, I decided to write about Puget Sound. I went to Seattle, Washington a couple of summers ago, and was very interested in the intricate waterways surrounding the city. After my research, I found out more on the history of the Puget Sound Region, and how global warming/sea level rise will affect the sound. Unfortunately, if we don’t do something about climate change in the next few years/decades, the Sound will flood and precious ecosystems will be lost. 

The nice thing about this program is that we do projects rather than intense papers or tests. My teacher was even saying that he would rather assign us this pamphlet, instead of assigning us a dull paper to write. In general, this school year has so far been fun and interesting, even with the remote environment.

 

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by Tess Waddy (Class of 2024)

Ice Frozen, Hearts Melted 

They say that ice is treacherous, That it’s cold as death, Alive without breath, Waiting to take those Who disrespect it or dare to suspect it Of anything other than what it is; Heartless

There are stories of those who have fallen To and through Sheets of ice Of blindingly white Merciless and insistent Their mere existence devoid Of any warmth

They say ice melt Is beneficial For who would want Such an unforgiving landscape To remain When in its place Could come obtainable riches

Glaciers? They say Who needs them anyway When they have taken so much And give so little

But what they do not tell you is the shimmering blue Revealed when ice turns over In its restless sleep Breaking the deep Deafening silence

They do not mention That each snowflake is unique An intricate pattern That will never return

Fleeting, alive for an instant individual as a human fingerprint And as precious as it’s owner 

They forget As ice does not That memories lie deep In frozen sleep Hidden between layers of ice and snow Stories of ages long ago Irreplaceable Yet easily Erasable

Today, everyday, Human kind Betrays and ravages the earth That nurtured us Blind to it’s pain Intertwined and trapped in a desperate dance That lured us Towards destruction:

Because of us The majestic ice Of planet earth Is melting Like a ball set rolling There is no controlling Its speed as it melts Erasing history Grandeur and mystery Spires and turrets Reduced to angry torrents Of rushing tears

One day A Towering wave Will be all that remains Of majestic cathedrals Arching bridges Towers and needles That live only in pictures Of a forgotten age

Because what they don’t tell you Is power of ice To balance the planet And protect us From raging fires From harmful rays That would damage Our fragile existence

Ice is a Firefighter, Even as it fears heat Resilient Even as it melts And yet We are hanging it Over a lighted fire A captive Unable to escape Bound by conditions

It cannot protect us if we do not provide the same protection in return

California is burning East Africa is yearning For any drop of water And the ice sheets are melting, Unable to prevent Anything As in danger as we are

I hope That the fires that burn Because we didn’t turn And face what we’ve done Will be sufficiently hot to melt the cold hearts Enough to feel the heat under the arctic’s feet

I hope that someone Watching from the crowd Will wake up Stand up throw water on the fire

After which The crowd will rise as one Untie the bonds Releasing ice Sparing the poles From further pain

I hope for a day Where I can say That we all came together as one To save the ice

From destruction

From us

For us

 

by Collette Treewater (Class of 2024)

The Fight of Our Lives

Humans, a seeming to be biotic figure that has done nothing but bad

They say don’t be greedy but that seems to be a hypocritical statement

Humans have ruined what we are given and give nothing back

The waterfalls drying up not releasing the water of hope that is recycled through like magic

The ground don't change but it does when underneath there is everything in the world that could hurt us

We sweep it under the carpet like it's a dust bunny on a busy day

But we are talking about our earth here

I say listen to the creature's yelping, crying, dying for help

Needing what we can no longer give because we are too far gone

I stand for what I stand on and will fight for what I die on

We can't give our world a ventilator or life support but currently this is what we need to do

Our world is on its deathbed we must treat it like we do to all these other living things including ourselves

Respecting your mother wishing we could have done more, but we can do more

Somehow a matter of environmental emergency has become a political debate for some rich people to bicker about like two babies fighting over the last cookie in the cookie jar but that cookie represents our entire political system of power

We as people need to stop fighting with each other because we are wasting energy

Becoming a united whole that will go into battle with our heads held high

Coming out with our feet drowning in the sea water we have melted, neglected, infected, and no longer respected

It will engulf us sooner or later but we will sink into it jaws first still bickering about whose shoes look more stylish, whose tie is more tight, and who got the most likes on the picture they posted that morning but we will be oblivious as we always have been and always will be

This is no laughing matter so stop laughing and start doing stop talking and start fighting

And stop crying because our earth is dying 

 

by Olivia Brewster (Class of 2024)

The Rain, The Snow, The Trees, The Boulders, The Fire

I can’t. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t. 

I can’t take the pressure of the world.

Every time we take a step up the mountain, a boulder tries to push up back down.

Or maybe a tree falls in front of us.

Maybe an avalanche buries us in snow.

Maybe a fire scorches our trail, and obliterates our footsteps. 

Maybe rain blinds us, and we can’t see the top anymore. 

But we are still fighting, we are still trekking through the snow.

We jumped over the tree, we pushed the boulder to the side.

The rain washed away the fire. 

We kept on walking through the rain. 

I can’t take it anymore.

The rain, the snow, the trees, the boulders, the fire.  

I can’t. 

The summit is our goal. That's it, the summit. There are still obstacles on the other side, but the summit is our goal. 

This mountain we’re climbing, its name is Climate Change.

It's in the mountain range called Mother Earth. Mother Earth has lots of mountains, but Climate Change is the biggest and the worst, there is also the best view from the top. 

This trail we’re on, is one of our own creation. It twists and turns, sometimes it's steep, sometimes it's a gentle slope, sometimes it drops off onto a cliff. 

We keep climbing and I can’t take it anymore. 

Everyday we seem closer to the top, and every night the top seems to disappear in the distance. 

The rain, the snow, the trees, the boulders, the fire.

I carry my team, they carry me. We bear the weight of the world on our backs. 

We carry everything. 

Our past, our present, our future.

We can’t put anything down, we can’t lighten the load. 

I can’t take it anymore. 

I can’t take the burden of the world

I can’t keep hiking up this mountain

I can’t handle the rain, the snow, the trees, the boulders, the fire. 

But I can. I can. I can. I can. We can.

Every time we take a step up this mountain, a boulder tries to push us back down, but we dodge it, and laugh as it tumbles down the mountain side. 

Or maybe a tree falls in front of us, and we have a place to sit down and take a break.

Maybe there is a little snow to cool us down.

Maybe a fire warms us and gives us light, even when the sun dips beneath the horizon, there is still a soft glow, that illuminates Mother Earth

Maybe it rains, and washes away all of our fears, and sorrows. Maybe it rains, and we splash in puddles and swim in lakes.  

We keep on walking in the rain. 

I can, we can. 

The rain, the snow, the trees, the boulders, the fire.

We can.

This mountain we’re climbing, its name is Climate Change. People have ventured up here before, left us some signs, maybe a campsite, possibly recommended a shady spot to take a break. But nobody has gone to the summit.

That's our goal, the summit. 

Climate Change is in a mountain range called Mother Earth. Mother Earth has mountains, and volcanoes, and lakes, and rivers. Mother Earth has dangerous cliffs, and beautiful hillsides. 

This trail we’re on, it's one of our own creation. There are no rules, no boundaries, just one goal. The summit. 

Some days the trail is pretty generic. Simple problems, simple solutions. Not much water, find a spring. Too hot, find some shade. 

Other days, the trail is a monster, just waiting to find new ways to torture us. But that's okay, because sometimes we need to hurt a little. 

We just need to get to the summit of Climate Change, in this mountain range called Mother Earth. 

I can. We can.

The rain, the snow, the trees, the boulders, the fire.

We can. 

I know we can do it.

We can fix it, we can solve it, we can find the answer and save the world. 

From our own mistakes. 

I believe in us.

I believe in us. 

We can stop the carbon emissions, we can stop the plastic production, we can stop deforestation.

We can produce less litter, we can eat less meat, we can cut down less trees, we can 

We can, we can, we can.

We have all the dominoes. They are ready to be lined up.

Some of them already are.

They are the ones who don’t use as much plastic, they are the ones who turn off their lights when they leave the room, they are the ones who walk to work. They are the ones who are already lined up.

But we need more dominoes. There are gaping holes in this line, and if one doesn’t reach the next, then the rest can’t fall down. 

We have all the dominoes. They are ready to be lined up. 

We have the space for the dominoes, we have all the dominoes.

 I know we can do it. 

Just get in line.

Please?
 

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As part of their 10th Grade English class, MarinSEL students crafted narratives on climate change. Students had the creative liberty to delve into any interpretation of a future affected by a changing climate. The stories range from 5 to 15 pages and showcase the incredible imagination of our students! Please enjoy the excerpts below; links to the full articles are included. 

Thoughts from the Depths - A Short Story by Ezra Bowers
For Luis, the walk home was never so life threatening as the walk to school, because on the island, the humidity always begins to dissipate around sunset. However, there was more to it today, he could tell, it was some kind of sixth sense, a raw emotion tainted the dusk with its undefinable presence. Oftentimes the sun would be pleasant, at that hour, slung across the ocean like a hammock, providing soft light without the punishment of the heat. Today, though, today it seemed sinister. Read the rest of the story here

Safe Haven - A Short Story by Angela Tsai
Noah, he thinks, My name is Noah. Mom, Dad, Candice, Thomas, Katrina, and Mr. Bell from across the street, he recites to himself. Every morning, like a prayer, this is how he remembers. How he remembers his life before the Fall, before the flood, and before he had lost everything. Read the rest of the story here.

Fend for the Risen - A Short Story by Olivia Yoakum
“They do.” Dave interrupted, “They have enough resources they just don’t want other people using them because they could easily overuse them and then where would we be?” Martha looked confused and noticing this, Dave continued, “We have eliminated every use of gasoline in our country. Which you guys know is what caused the Risen Line in the first place…” They both nodded. “Well, by doing this we don’t have the privilege of making new planes that are electric because the making of them would emit even more gases and cause the Risen Line to go up even higher. So these planes are only supposed to be used for government emergency purposes, but…” he continued. “I’ve always been a rule breaker.” He said with a wide smile. Martha felt comforted hearing the whole truth on more time. Read the rest of the story here.

Learning From History - A Short Story by Jason Hsu
It read Earth: Climate Change on the tab. Instantly, memories of books and studies he read spiraled into his brain. It seemed so marvelous, luscious grasslands, expansive oceans filled with wildlife, undulant mountains and valleys, the extremity of beautiful creatures, what was not to like; after all, it was so much like Kepler. His father told him several times how he modeled our planet after Earth, at least the successful things, he would say, reminding him that this was private information, of course. Stories passed down from generation to generation of how our people had traveled from Earth to Kepler. But Joe never quite understood the reasoning behind moving to a completely different solar system, having to build a whole new world. Maybe life was just simply better or easier here, so why not, he told himself. Read the rest of the story here.

 

 

 

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By: Zoe McDonough (Class of 2022)

Dramatic decline in native plants is causing problems in California
The Golden State is home to around 6,500 different species of native plants, but alarming recent evidence suggests that they are being pushed out by invasive plants, causing an extreme negative reaction in the surrounding ecosystems (“Native Plants and Climate Change”). This harming of the natural balance of the environment can affect water quality, biodiversity, the economy, and can also increase the risk of fires, which, where we live, is already higher than we can afford. In order for citizens of Marin to be able to contribute to the solution, we must first identify what is causing the issues, why it is important to correct them, who has already begun to help, and simple, affordable ways in which people can help restore native plants.
 

The issue lies in invasive species

With all of the forms of transportation that we have in our world today, it’s not surprising that different species of plants and animals are being carried to different locations along with people and their belongings. However, sometimes when these species arrive in new lands, they start to take over, which is what is currently happening in California. These harmful non-native species, also known as invasive species, have altered the entire ecosystem in a very negative way, because they can’t support it in the way that native species can. For instance, when invasive plants such as ivy cover the ground, it reduces the number of roots in the grounds, leaving nothing to bind the soil together. This leads to a higher likelihood of ground erosion when floods occur. Also, the displacement of native plants that is happening due to invasive species is harming the biodiversity in the environment. Instead of having a variety of shrubs, herbs, and trees, there is starting to be one big monoculture, with no difference in species. Additionally, when people grow them in their own gardens, they can be vulnerable to numerous health detriments due to the fact that they require chemical fertilizers to grow. Lastly, and almost most importantly because of where we live, invasive plants aren’t accustomed to droughts like our native plants are, causing them to die in the summer without enough water. Areas dominated by these dry weeds are way more susceptible to catching on fire, while other tree-climbing plants like ivy serve as conductors for fires. This allows the fires to reach the tree canopy, making them harder to contain and more threatening towards structures. Luckily, there are ways to stop the spread of invasive plants, and some people have already begun to help.

Tejon Ranch, one of California's last and most significant native grasslands. Photo: Nancy Buck

Not all heroes wear capes: some wear gardening gloves

There is a non-profit organization called the California Native Plant Society that, in their own words, are “on a mission to save California’s native plants and places using both head and heart, bringing together science, education, conservation, and gardening to power the native plant movement.” There are many things that they are doing to help restore native plants and eliminate invasive plants. One thing that they are doing is advocating for legal protection of native plants and science based land management. They are also creating California’s first conservation index, filled with all of the native plants that need saving. Another thing that they are doing to help plants is educating the public about why native plants need to be protected. They talk to students, host conferences, create educational videos, and provide guided tours and hikes to look for native plants. One example of them talking to students is when a representative from CPNS volunteered to be the community partner in a student group project involving native plants. She provided guidance, knowledge, and materials that the groups needed in order to make a difference in the community. Lastly, the California Native Plant Society also goes out in the fields and works to remove invasive species from the ecosystem and restore native plants. They provide resources for anyone who wants to help, and they constantly host events for people who want to take action. However, there are smaller ways in which one can help make a difference, like not purchasing invasive plants for your garden. Doing this will also be more beneficial to the garden because native plants require less water than other plants, and no chemical fertilizers. There are already many people who have banded together to make a difference in our homes, but in order for the effect to be larger, more people need to join the cause.

Making a difference, one plant at a time
At this moment in time, there are many issues environmentally in California. The imbalance of plants in the ecosystem has caused a lot of damage in almost a chain reaction. However, there are people, like the California Native Plant Society, that are already starting to help, and they have created change for the better. But we can take it one step further, and with the help of everyone in Marin, we can not only reduce the amount of invasive plants in the state, but we can also help native plants flourish as they used to once more.



 

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By: Millicent Harrison (Class of 2022)

A New Hope for Renewable Energy

Just under a month ago, California set a very lofty goal, to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2045. This huge change brought about by Kevin de León and Jerry Brown outlines and solidifies California’s economic plan for the next twenty-seven years. To put that into context, most freshmen will be forty-one by the time these goals come to fruition. Unfortunately, the goals set will affect California’s fossil fuel industry, and many residents and local businesses may not be willing or have enough financial backing to switch to renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels and windmills may be becoming more mainstream, but are they affordable and efficient enough to highlight the renewable energy effort?

Accomplishing Weighty Goals

To achieve or not to achieve. Last month, California hosted the Global Climate Action Summit, which kicked off the climate goal of the century. California Governor Jerry Brown made this change possible by signing Senate Bill 100 into law. SB 100 was the brainchild of State Senator Kevin de León, who advocated for this bill for two years. This bill passed legislature on September 10, 2018, as some people had hoped it would. The bill-turned-law states that California must achieve zero carbon emission from electricity by 2045. However, SB 100 only states that electricity must be carbon free. Executive order B-55-18, signed later that day, states that all of California must be greenhouse gas emission-free by 2045. The point is, “electricity only accounts for about 16% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.” (Roberts) This is crucial to understanding how both SB 100 and B-55-18 differentiate from each other, and how they benefit and reinforce their similar policies. The amazing thing is that if this goal is actually pulled off, California, as the “‘world’s fifth largest economy’ will have pulled off the most significant carbon policy commitment ever.” (Roberts)

Some people argue that the technology to make such a giant leap just doesn’t exist yet, and for the moment, their arguments are entirely justified. However important solar, wind, nuclear, and hydropower are for reaching zero emissions, they cannot be the sole technologies California utilizes in upcoming years. The main problem is that the amount of power that comes from these various technologies fluctuates depending on the conditions. If a day is cloudy and cold with little wind, then solar, and wind power will contribute little to the demand for energy that day. Not to mention that people will likely be inside using their heating systems to the maximum. Based on this evidence, the technologies currently being used will not be sufficient enough to provide carbon-free energy for the entire state. In order to succeed in becoming carbon-free, new technologies must either be invented or put to use in the next twenty-seven years.

More Effort Means More Impact

In order for California to meet its goals by 2045 everyone has to pitch in and reduce their carbon footprint. However big or small, every effort counts. Things like turning off lights when not in a room, limiting shower time, and walking or biking places instead of driving are all steps the average person can take toward helping our state. While the law and executive order primarily target businesses and the economy on a larger scale, there is no reason not to try to be more conscious of the energy we use and waste. Going the extra mile to reduce carbon emissions should not be a chore, it should be a habit. More importantly, it should be fun. Exercise, clean living, and spending lots of time outdoors will create a healthier overall population. Without factories, cars, and other industrial businesses belching carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the air, people will be able to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature in one of the world’s most unique ecosystems. Reaching zero carbon emissions by 2045 may be a far-fetched goal to some, an outlandish idea, but since when have the boundaries of impossible ever stopped humans from evolving?


 
 
 
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By: Ally Teper (Class of 2019)

The week of September 10th,  students from MarinSEL were well represented at the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco, CA. Senior Cameron Evans and junior Eleanor Huang spoke alongside influential environmentalists at events, which drew hundreds of leaders and climate activists from all around the world.

Eleanor Huang was a part of a panel discussion at the event, Education: Key to Long-Term Climate Action Success. She spoke passionately to the audience about youth involvement.

"I challenge all here to involve and engage youth in everything you do. I don’t know what climate challenges are coming. I do know that if you give us a chance, my generation can solve them." Huang’s passionate speech led to participants creating ‘Eleanor for President in 2028” posters in the break out activity.  

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Tom Adams (Deputy Superintendent, California Department of Education), Michael Watkins (Superintendent of Santa Cruz County Office of Education), Juanita Chen (STEM and College & Career Pathways Coordinator, Rialto Unified School District), Kahri Boykin (Teacher, Yosemite Continuation High School), and Eleanor Huang (11th grade student at MarinSEL).

MarinSEL senior Ana Ostrovsky, who helped lead a break out session during the event at the Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event was greatly impacted by what she saw during the event saying, “I feel confident in my generation to continue to be movers and shakers, constantly questioning what we feel is not right. I think my generation sees that all issues are connected; social justice and environmental justice, even gun control, and we are going to do everything in our power to leave this earth better than how we inherited it. We know that we can't afford to waste any more time because we might be the last generation before it is too late.”

MarinSEL senior Max Manwaring-Mueller spent the day taking video and conducting interviews to capture the innovative work in climate education around the world happening at the Global Climate Action Summit. “I was not aware of how climate-illiterate students are across the nation – not their fault of course. Yet with what I saw in the conference, I feel like a push to spread curriculum that mandates climate literacy into common core classes. I do feel hope for the future.”

In addition to the event Eleanor, Ana, and Max participated in, MarinSEL senior Cameron also spoke at a local Marin Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event, Lead on Climate. Cameron spoke alongside Congressman Jared Huffman, Marin Supervisors Kate Sears and Damon Connolly, and Novato Mayor Josh Fryday. “While I wish I could say that I was an internationally recognized leader, a physicist, professor, policy maker, any of the above...I sadly cannot. I am the most average of teenagers who has simply discovered  the power of her own voice. I bring that voice here tonight to represent the restless youth in a growing movement to change our planet for the better.” You can watch Cameron’s full speech here.

Post-Global Climate Action Summit, the MarinSEL students are ready more than ever to take a leadership role in the global climate community. MarinSEL students stood on a global platform and they were poised and influential, proving that student voices are powerful and can make a difference.

 

 
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May 31, 2017

By: Jessica Brown

When I used to think about school, I would imagine sitting in a desk, reading textbooks, and filling out worksheets all day long. Now, the thought of school paints a whole new picture, filled with so much more. The MarinSEL program allows its students to go out into the world and have experiences, rather than imagining what they would be like from the inside of a classroom. I have grown so much as a student in MarinSEL due to the real-life applications of what we learn.

As students in an environmental program, we need to understand how the rest of the world views the climate and Earth. MarinSEL teachers had accomplished just that by arranging a meeting with students from Japan and organizing a skype call with high schoolers living in Greenland. In March this year, we were all excitedly awaiting the arrival of students from Japan that would be visiting our classrooms. Sitting in biology, all eyes looked to the door as a sea of friendly faces flowed into the room. We organized ourselves into small groups and invited the Japanese students to join us. We spent around twenty minutes exchanging ideas, talking about daily activities, and discussing views on politics and global warming. I learned that although our cultural differences may be vast, we still shared a lot of similar views on politics and global issues with the students. The students stayed for a few more days, the goodbyes were lighthearted, and none of us will ever forget that experience.

Later in April, our second encounter with international students occurred in the form of a Skype call. Two days earlier, we had prepared questions about climate change and global warming to ask the students over the Skype call. When the time to talk came, we all sat in our seats, one by one exchanging questions and answers with the foreign high schoolers. We discovered that Greenland also found benefits to climate change because they will have more agricultural land and oil. Fortunately, they also saw the negatives for the rest of the world and the environment, but we never would have thoughts that one of the countries affected most by climate change viewed it somewhat positively. We have to remember that people have differing opinions than us under different circumstances.

These opportunities were unlike anything I have ever experienced before and I never would have been able to participate
 in them without the MarinSEL program. Although, talking with international students hasn’t been the only amazing thing we’ve done.
In both Geography, English, and Health class, we have been studying a food unit for weeks, learning about GMOs, organics, and
 local produce. Recently, we were able to apply our learnings to our everyday lives. We were told about a project where we would be going to the farmers’ market, interviewing farmers, and cooking a dish made completely from food we bought from the market. Excited, we did not know where to begin. We all brainstormed recipe ideas and thought about what foods would have the lowest carbon footprint. Finally, the day of the trip arrived and we were ecstatic. The class piled into cars and off we drove to the market. We were taught about how the farmers produced their food sustainably and asked them questions about their farming techniques. After we finished our shopping, we got back into our cars and put our ingredients in the refrigerator at school, but the project wasn't over. We also were required to calculate the carbon footprint of our dishes. I never realized the amount of emissions that food produces and the importance of buying local produce to reduce the carbon dioxide. The next day, we had a cook off during Seminar and lunch. We used the four Cs in order to work cooperatively to make a creative and delicious dish. It was an amazing project with many aspects that we could apply to our lives.

MarinSEL has a different approach to learning than conventional schools. The program goes above and beyond by allowing students
 to apply our learning to real life situations. School is no longer just sitting and reading textbooks because the MarinSEL program has turned it into an unforgettable learning adventure.

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