This post was written by guest blogger, Alice Beittel, a Turning Green Student Advisory Board member and a PGC Ambassador. She is just starting UC Davis as a freshman studying Environmental Science and Management.
In elementary school I learned the hiker’s number one rule: leave everything better than you found it.
My small hands would carefully reach into the dusty soil of Lake Chabot Regional Park to remove a candy bar wrapper from the home of so many birds and trees. My young mind grasped onto an obligation to respect something so powerful, so immense, and so generous. While I never questioned this standard and accepted it as a fundamental principle, I had tunnel vision and saw nature separate from the way I live.
PGC awakened a sleeping giant within me and told it to dream and do, for where there is a will there is a way.
This giant will never go back to sleep. I cannot, and will not, stand by and watch the abuse, scorching, exploitation, and disrespect of the home of birds and trees continue. Ultimately, Turning Green has taught me that I don’t need to wait until I have a college degree or a spot in Congress to make a difference in this world. I WILL start now.
A funny thing happens when you follow your passion. As soon as I started reaching out to students, faculty, and staff, I found many people who believed in a more sustainable future for our school, our world and our planet. Early junior year, a group of friends and I talked about how amazing it would be to have solar panels that doubled as sun protectors on our boiling classroom building. Today, what we deemed as a far-fetched idea, is a reality. Who knew that a small group of students with a daydream could be the final push for a more sustainable campus? Looking back, so many people had a hand in the project. It underscores the existence of a massive force of positive change that is assembling across the globe. We see it grow every year during Project Green Challenge amongst my high school and college peers around the world and we are unstoppable.
Project Green Challenge is not just a 30 day eco-lifestyle challenge – it is your call to action. This world needs a paradigm shift and that will only happen if the people who live on its soil realize that we are the force for change. If you are passionate about design, math, teaching, art, science, public health, engineering, medicine, history, theater, literature, religion, international relations, or literally anything else, you are the drivers of the future and the time is now to speak up for justice.
Alice Walker, my namesake, puts it simply, “Activism is my rent for living on this planet”. This planet is our home. As young people, we need to raise our voices far and wide. Let’s “dream and do” like never before. It’s up to us! PLEASE JOIN WITH THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AND SIGN UP FOR PGC 2015 HERE. You will be part of the change!