Our Future (OF) provides a network for students to connect and share ideas and experiences. It is a space where students can discuss and learn from one another. Our discussions help us reach conclusions and form solutions.
Before I was involved in OF, our environmental club at my high school did not have many connections outside Central Oregon; we were limited in the people we could connect with statewide. OF has given students and clubs statewide an opportunity to communicate and share their experiences. When I learn something from other students in OF, I can share these ideas with the people at my school and community, and together we can improve climate advocacy and activism. This network promotes statewide communication and makes accomplishing goals easier for every student, club, group, or school.
One of my goals for this school year is to implement a composting system at my school. Our school kitchen just started separating their waste into recycling, garbage, and now, food waste. Our environmental club would like to extend this system and place food waste bins in the cafeteria for students. This project can be one of our ECAP (Equitable Climate Action Plan) projects at Bend High.
OF has helped me begin planning how I will implement this system. I came to realize how impactful this network is at one of our last meetings. I was brainstorming in a breakout room with several students and Maya Schwartz, a Regional Leader from Crescent Valley High school. We were talking about possible green projects at our schools. I brought up composting, and Maya told me her environmental club had just established a composting system for students at her school.
Maya’s experience implementing a composting system was a perfect opportunity for me to learn from another student in OF. Maya, Joshua (PSS staff), and I talked over zoom after one of our Regional Leader meetings. I learned about the composting system at Crescent Valley and its successes and areas for improvement.
My next step is to plan out what a sustainable composting system could look like at Bend High. I will need to consider how this project addresses climate change and climate justice, a timeline, and how students are affected and involved. Hopefully, by the end of this year, students at Bend High will see composting bins in their cafeteria.
In the same way that Maya and the environmental club’s work at Crescent Valley helped me learn more about composting, the work my club and I do together could help other schools in Oregon. Our Future catalyzes a system of learning and aid for students. This system can continue for generations of students, and together we can build a greener and better future.