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Environmentalism with the Student Body

By Claire Pham

Feb. 16, 2022

Julia Nakanishi Photo

As the conversation of environmental health intensifies, students are taking their seats at the table by participating in environment-based clubs that aim to preserve nature. In the past few decades, crises such as food shortages, land rights and poor sustainability have been looming over the environmental community and raising concerns. These issues were further heightened after the first wave of the pandemic. In response, students have created clubs such as the Food Conservation Club (FCC), The Leland Hiking Club (LHC) and Students for the Environment to raise awareness and protect the environment.

According to the COVID Hardship Watch by the Center on Budgeting and Policy Priorities, financial hardships such as food shortages and struggles to pay rent peaked from December 2020 to January 2021 due to pay cuts, reduced hours and lay-offs caused by the pandemic. This caused a spike in nationwide hunger for families in poverty. The FCC and LHC recognize these issues and strive to help conserve the environment.

FCC focuses on food conservation by collaborating with food banks. They intend to reach families suffering from food shortages and provide free food. In addition to volunteering at food banks, the club plans to hold fundraisers and educational events to raise awareness about this global issue.

“The COVID-19 lockdown motivated me to empathize with less fortunate people and their situations. It made me wonder how their lives were impacted since many were unable to continue working,” Sophomore Aran Ramakrishnan said.

Similarly, the lockdown influenced the formation of LHC. The club’s objective is to encourage socialization, physical health and mental leisure through hikes. This activity allows people to temporarily release their burdens while creating new, lasting bonds. The club members participate in weekly two-hour group hikes in locations such as the Echo Canon and Fortini Trailhead.

“Hiking gives me a chance to de-stress by spending time in nature and hanging out with my friends. It lets me forget about school for a while and is a great way to take a break when I have a lot of work to do,” Sophomore Gilina Voon, a member of LHC said.

Not only did the lockdown inspire the creation of new nature-focused clubs, but it also motivated more students to become involved in environment-related student organizations.

Senior Aarna Garg, the President of Students for the Environment, leads a youth organization that centers around environmentalism and sustainability. They hold extensive discussions, volunteer opportunities and events that educate students about ecology and social issues. The club strives to raise awareness about lesser-known environmental concerns such as indigenous land rights and the impacts of climate change on minority groups.

“During the lockdown, there was a lot of uncertainty. I founded this club to create a space where people can work to better their community,” Garg said.

As the number of nature-based clubs continues to grow, these organizations are trying to inform their communities and help future generations be more environmentally conscious. Though each club covers a multitude of differing issues, they have all expressed their faith that communal effort can initiate a ripple-effect, inspiring larger environmental movements and ultimately accomplish seemingly infeasible tasks.


About the Contributors

Claire Pham

Media Editor/ Staff Writer

Claire Pham is a Leland sophomore. She is currently a part of the media team in Advanced Journalism. She enjoys watching new shows, hanging out with friends, and listening to different types of music.

Julia Nakanishi

Photo Director

Julia Nakanishi is a junior at Leland High School and the photo director for The Charger Account. She spends her free time taking photos with friends, playing video games and listening to music.

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