Eastside Catholic’s Response to the UN report

Sofia+and+Addie+are+the+presidents+of+the+Climate+Action+Club+and+EC+and+are+committed+to+creating+a+more+sustainable+future+for+our+school+community+and+the+world.

Jacob Blockhan

Sofia and Addie are the presidents of the Climate Action Club and EC and are committed to creating a more sustainable future for our school community and the world.

For the past 3 years, a group of committed students at EC have ran Green Team, a club dedicated to making Eastside Catholic more climate friendly. However, in the past year the club has been absorbed by the Climate Action Club headed by seniors Addie Lewis and Sofia Friedl.

Sofia explained that “One of the things that we set out to do was to educate students on climate change, why it is happening and what they can do to help as a consumer”. The club seeks to prepare the student population, as best as they can, to be proponents of positive change for our global climate.

The club recognizes the importance of education about climate change, especially in Western Washington where the effects of the ongoing global shift are not as prevalent.

While the pair have been committed to climate action for a while now, the UN report has caused them to more fully realize the importance of their efforts. During an interview with the pair, Addie noted that “There is a clock that is counting down, and after a certain point if we do not help to reduce impacts on the environment, it will be really hard to reverse. And much of the damage is already irreversible”.

This clock that has been ticking for decades has been brought back to the forefront of people’s minds due to the UN report which detailed the destructive path that climate change is taking. If the entire world were to go Net 0 right now, it would still take 20 years for temperatures to stop rising.

This global rise in temperature currently puts 14% of animal species at risk for extinction and more plants and animals will be added to that list the longer it takes for society to act against climate change.

To counter these disturbing trends in our global ecosystem the Climate Action Club has come up with some advice as to how YOU can help stop climate change. They also urge all students to read the UN report that will be released on Apr 26 which will detail ways in which the global community can take a stand against climate change.

Take it Slow:

While climate change is a pressing issue, it is important that the steps taken toward a more sustainable future occur as a transition and not a shift. Sofia stressed the importance of “Taking it really slow and not holding yourself to the standard of perfection. But also don’t be satisfied. Still push yourself and allow yourself to improve, but at your pace”.

As humans we have all formed our own habits and ways of living and for many of us, living sustainable lives requires us to break some of our habits, a process which takes time. For example, both Addie and Sofia are in the process of going vegan so that they do not contribute to the pollution that comes from the animal products industry. The pair report that the process has taken over a year and it is not over yet.

The pair recognize that making a shift to a more sustainable way of life can be incredibly difficult. Addie reminds us that “Any change is good change. You don’t have to be perfect … but you can still make an improvement”.

The power of individual actions should not be underestimated. If everyone tried to make at least a change in their life for a more sustainable future, there would be an amazing impact on the health of our planet.

Don’t force the issue on others:

Recognizing the struggles that come with deconstructing habits and the differences in personal ideologies on the topic of climate change, Addie and Sofia stress patience and acceptance for those who choose not to take action against climate change.

While neither Addie nor Sofia try to force people to change, they hope that the scientific evidence presented by the UN report will help people to see that the impact of Climate Change is very real.

Madagascar is currently in the midst of the first famine that was brought about by climate change, a symbol to the world that the threat is very real.

While there will still be many who choose to ignore the reality of climate change, Sofia and Addie urge people to be respectful and be helpful, suggesting climate friendly options to those they come across.

Check product sustainability:

In their time transitioning to become Vegan and generally more aware of their impact as consumers the pair have learned a variety of ways to tell if a product is sustainably sourced.

The most surefire way to see if a company is sustainable is to check their sustainability page on their website. If such a page is hard to find or non-existent, it can be assumed that the company does not contribute to a better future for our climate.

Most companies that sustainably produce their products will boast of that fact on their packaging, making such brands easy to locate.

Buy Local and In Season:

While buying products that are out of season may seem inconsequential, Addie explains that “making the choices between apples and mangoes when they are out of season is a really big difference in terms of carbon emissions”.

The difference is that the greater shipping distance needed to transport out-of -season products produces more emissions than those that come from within the region.

The pair suggest farmers markets as a great place to locally sourced products and to show some love to local farmers.

Don’t Rely on Recycling:

For years recycling has been ingrained in our minds as one of the best ways to keep plastic out of our oceans and help our environment, but that is actually far from the truth.

Addie shared that “It is always better to avoid using plastic bags in the first place because they can only be recycled 2-3 times before it has to be thrown away. Even recycling plastic isn’t that sustainable”.

Sofia added that it is also important to note that “Be wary that not everything will be recycled. A lot of the time plastic ends up in landfills or in oceans”.

Due to these facts the pair suggests that students avoid using plastic bags and use reusable bags instead. This shift will keep plastic from filling up our oceans and landfills.

The system of reusable products goes far beyond plastics. There have been recent innovations that have created dissolvable containers for soaps so that their packaging does not contribute to climate degradation.

The pair also stressed the power of thrifting or swapping clothes instead of buying straight off the rack. Thrifting allows people to buy clothes without directly contributing to companies that do not ethically source their products.

Conclusion:

In order to help stop climate change it is important that as many people as possible takie even the smallest steps in their lives to give back to our planet. Sofia’s advice to students who want to get involved is to “take it slow and not hold yourself to the standard of perfection. But also don’t be satisfied. Still push yourself and allow yourself to improve, but at your pace”.

The Climate Action Club is showing us that even just in our school community we can have a big impact on our environment.

Although the UN report seems to be a doomsday message to many, it is important to not be filled with dread over the issue but rather to recognize that we need to change and that our own improvements can go a long way.

Addie and Sofia are continuing to make videos for the schools to watch during EC3, but if you want to contact them to get involved or discuss ways that you can start being more environmentally friendly feel free to reach out to them.