[Editors Note: This report was submitted by Alisa Zhang, STF leader at Los Osos HS, following her participation in the ASP2021 Symposium.]
July 23, 2021: Last Friday STF leaders Victoria Valdez and Alisa Zhang presented their Green Schools Campaign to the Astronomical Society of the Pacific at the ASP2021 Summer Symposium. The two-day international event focused on the connection of astronomy and climate change through various panel discussions. At the session titled “Advocating for Adopting Sustainability at Your Institution”, Victoria and Alisa were the only high school panelists.
The session started with presentations by scientists who spoke about the work they did at their own institutes–University of California, Riverside, and the Space Telescope Science Institute, respectively. Victoria and Alisa followed with a discussion of the progress made at their own high schools advocating for 100% renewable energy. Victoria relayed the difficulties of pushing through administrative barriers at her school and with the Los Angeles Unified School District, while Alisa gave four best practice tips to others wishing to transition their own institutes with examples from advocacy at her school district, Chaffey Joint Union High School District (CJUHSD). The student activists’ stories were well-received, and enthusiastic questions for them arose during the Q&A period. The audience even expressed the wish to involve their own youth relatives in climate activism and begin green energy transition movements at their local high schools.
This wonderful opportunity to talk to scientists worldwide is a great testimony to the hard work that all members and supporters of the STF put into the Green Schools Campaign this past year. As one scientist stated after the session, “Youth’s concern for the climate, and their tangible actions as a result, give hope to the scientific community.” Indeed, the STF serves to bring hope to the entire world in engaging and supporting passionate youths toward taking responsibility for their own futures.
By Alisa Zhang, STF Los Osos HS