For A Greener Good

Club around Omaha raises awareness of climate change

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For A Greener Good

Kaitlyn Willard, Editor-In-Cheif

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photo by Kaitlyn Willard
Students hold signs on the Dodge Street Bridge advocating for climate change awareness. They made signs and listened to speakers to prepare for this rally. “I wanted to get involved because it is very important to make sure you know your impact on the environment,” senior Amelie Cole said. “As the human population grows, the impact is getting worse.”

With a rise in temperature comes a rise in concern about the Earth, especially among Generation Z. Sustainability is becoming more important as the climate is rapidly changing, and that is what students across the metro area are striving for: a more sustainable living.

Students for Sustainability (SFS) includes college and high school students alike from schools around Omaha; advocating for a greener life around school and Nebraska. Not only are some Millard West students part of this eco-activist group, but senior Amelie Cole assisted from the beginning.

“I got involved through my one friend who said ‘We have this big problem with climate change. We need to do something about it’ so we started this club,” Cole said. “The importance of SFS is to make sure that students are doing everything that they can to make themselves more sustainable and to make sure that politicians know the people that will be voting for them in the next couple of years are concerned with the environment and are going to make sure that somehow a plan for the environment is a part of their policy.”

Although this club only started last year, it has continued to grow and allow for students to voice their opinion. Not only do these students research and speak out about what they believe, but they act upon it. They make their voice heard to the public to show their concern and to educate others on how we can incorporate sustainable living.

“It’s important to use your voice for what you believe in because it shows that you think about things that are happening in our world, and it shows that you are concerned with your future and the people around you’s future,” Cole said. “I have used my voice for the concern of the environment by gaining more members  and also when we have booths I explain to other habitants of Omaha what we are doing and why as a club we support it.”

Since the start of the club, SFS has held a climate change rally over the Dodge Street bridge and some members have been going into testimonies and court hearings with the mayor to talk about the issue. Recently, members attended a court hearing over the Plastic Bag Ban Omaha tried to pass. Mercy High School senior and SFS president Cate Kelly attended the hearing to advocate for recycling.

“It was a little nerve-racking to be honest, but also powerful because we were actively participating in our civic system,” Kelly said. “It is important for Omaha to continue recycling because recycling is important. It’s one of the most basis sustainable things a city can do and we actually have quite the recycling center here in Omaha.”

To get their club noticed and their voices heard, SFS has set up booths at different local markets and events. Senior Logan Berggren recently decided to join and help out at the booth at Dundee Days.

“We had a table and these mission statements that we were handing out to people as well as a donation jar,” Berggren said. “We also had a sign up sheet for students who would want to join our cause. Our main goal is to make sure businesses are very sustainable because that’s one of the major causes.”

Along with advocating for a more green community around Omaha, SFS also works on figuring out ways to help schools become more eco-friendly. Mercy High School requires students to purchase a reusable water bottle reduce the amount of plastic waste from water bottles. The group has been discussing ways to incorporate composting within the school and continue to push for more recycling.

“Some of our members have really pushed for composting at their schools and a lot work to make school lunches more eco-friendly,” senior Alison Fricke said. “Some schools use regular utensils instead of plastic to help.”

Despite what political party one falls under, climate change is an issue that applies to everyone. After years of people mindlessly harming the planet, this generation is trying to put a stop to that. What started as a conversation between Kelly and Cole, turned out to make a change and push for Omaha becoming more green.

“I think our entire organization has made an impact because we’ve drawn attention to the climate crisis and the need for climate action,” Kelly said. “Both young people and adults see us and see that we want positive change in our city and state. A lot of people realize that there is no approaching climate crisis — it is already here and that is why action is so important.”

If anyone is interested in joining SFS, they can either reach out to a founding member or reach out on their Instagram page @omahasfs. The future is today’s youth and they are making a change.

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