ABE urges youth climate action

Sara Brownlee, Managing Editor

Advocates for a Better Environment gathered in the amphitheatre in order to raise awareness for climate change through a strike. Through speeches and posters, the club members conveyed their dismay for the current situation and advocated for student action. Photo by Sara Brownlee.

Advocates for a Better Environment (ABE) President Bella Santos (11) began her speech with discernible emotion in her voice.

“We need serious intersectional cli-mate action now,” Santos said. “We are striking for our future!”

ABE held a climate strike in the amphitheatre during lunch Sept. 24, which was global climate action day.

Students spoke about their concerns with the environment and called for changes at the local, state and national levels.

As the 26th UN Climate Change Conference is coming up in November, ABE held this strike to encourage representatives to take action to make meaningful changes. The International Panel on Climate Change released a “code red” report in August that explains why serious intersectional cli-mate action is needed.

Santos led the strike and encouraged youth action in the community.

“We wanted to bring attention to the climate movement and the need for urgency,” Santos said.

In her speech, Santos requested that San Diego County create a zero-carbon regional plan by 2030, and pushed for free bus passes for people under 18 through the Youth Opportunity Pass. These bus passes would encourage people to use more forms of public transportation therefore reduce each person’s carbon emission.

Santos also called on California state senators to support a reconciliation package that would invest in communities of high-need. This would address the links between climate change, racial injustice, and economic equality.

“People of color and working-class people are most and disproportionately impacted by climate change in the US, despite contributing least to emissions,” Santos said. “This ties back to environmental racism and historical redlining with unequal access to clean environments and resources. Communities of color are far more likely to live in areas with poor air quality, heavy pollution, toxic waste, and poisoned resources.”

Grace Mordhorst (11), the secretary of ABE, helped organize the strike.

“We wanted to bring awareness to conditions that we’re facing right now and encourage students to engage in climate action,” Mordhorst said.

ABE is working towards implementing policies that would directly impact Westview, which they discuss in their weekly meetings in ABE adviser Shannon Kreamer’s room, E105.

ABE plans to start a garden and enact a recycling program. Currently, both recycling cans and trash cans get emptied in the dumpster, but ABE is working to recycle as much as possible.

“We want to get our district to establish a policy to have a recycling program so our paper and recyclables can actually get recycled,” Santos said.

Mordhorst also took this time to pass out a petition from a youth campaign called Youth v. Oil, dedicated to stopping oil drilling. It calls on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop new oil drilling permits, phase out existing oil wells, create safety zones between oil extraction sites and civilized areas, and launch a plan to end all oil drilling in California.

ABE continues to encourage students to stay active in the movement and advocate for a livable future.

“Ultimately, we must dismantle racist and flawed environmental systems and instead pursue policy and development that works to create a sustainable, cooperative, and equitable future for the planet,” Santos said.