Never Too Young to Evoke Change - Youth Sustainability Initiatives

Never To Young To Evoke Change
Sustainability Initiatives From Today’s Youth

We’re so young. We’re so young. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.” –Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness

Sometimes I think that my time to “change the world” will come when I am older. But when will I be old enough to be older? And what actions of mine are great enough to evoke change on a global or even national scale? The initiatives that I have dedicated my words and space to on our blog this month are a humbling reminder that we are never too young, too small, too naïve, too weak to make a difference.

Hole Food Rescue
HFR got its start when a couple of college gals started dumpster diving behind grocery stores and restaurants in Boulder, CO. Sounds pretty gross, huh? The reality though is that the majority of the food tossed out by grocery stores is completely edible, but gets chucked because of overly cautious expiration dates or simply because produce is bruised or somehow deformed. Alison Dunford, the founder of HFR, and Sami Stasi, HFR Assistant Director, took it upon themselves to find new homes for Boulder’s neglected food and got involved with Boulder Food Rescue. When the two graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and moved up to Jackson, WY they checked the dumpsters and…same problem.

Using the knowledge they had gained from Boulder Food Rescue, the two began Hole Food Rescue in an effort to redistribute Jackson’s wasted food to those in need. HFR's objective is to decrease food waste while increasing the level of nutrition for low-income, at-risk individuals of Jackson. Ali and Sami, with the help of Jackson Cupboard, a local nonprofit, approached local grocery stores and bakeries and presented an offer impossible to resist. When grocery stores set aside food to be redistributed by HFR they are able to, “lower their trash bill, it appears as if they are donating so they look good, they get a tax write off, AND they are protected by the law! So that being said…it really wasn't hard to get them on board” Sami Stasi explains. HFR is not just a great idea for the environment, but for local businesses as well. Since June 2013, HFR has diverted 70,000 pounds of food to shelters and non-profits such as the Jackson Food Cupboard and the Good Samaritan Mission. Check out HFR’s video below and blog for more information, and think just how much of a difference you could make if you work to start your own local Food Rescue.

Students for Sustainability
Started by a group of five Jackson Middle School students back in 2006, Student’s for Sustainability aims to increase the use of sustainable practices in their local community as well as expand public awareness of environmental issues throughout Wyoming and the United States. The officers of Students For Sustainability (SFS) took the club with them when they graduated on to high school and the group quickly gained attention and members. Today SFS works on projects including the installation of solar panels at their school, encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags, speaking at the Wyoming Association of Municipalities Conference and developing recycling initiatives around town. SFS traveled to Washington DC to present to several environmental organizations and their Wyoming senator about environmental change for the state of Wyoming. So much change has come from the initial efforts of just five middle school students! Schools are a perfect place to grow the use and knowledge of greener practices and technologies in your community. Create a greenhouse on campus or a local garden. Install solar panels. Know where food for your cafeteria or dining hall is coming from. Talk to your state senators or town selectmen. If five middle school students can do it, why can’t we?

Students for Sustainability - Carbon Neutral Project from WRKSHRT Digital

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. The notion that it is too late to do anything is comical. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” –Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness

I don’t always know what my role is in the human fight to protect our planet from our own footprint. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to protect the environment from its declining health. And I can simultaneously feel complacent in the underwhelming actions I take to heal it. We have to remember that even small, simple initiatives make a difference. And that even in our youth our time for change, our time for action, is now. Not simply when we’re older. 

By AI Blog contributor: Maggie Edmunds