Teens take the lead on cleaning the planet. Will adults follow?

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Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine. Biology teacher Benjamin Kay helms the school club. Photo credit: Benjamin Kay

It’s been a year since Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg began her school strike on the steps of her country’s Parliament, in order to draw attention to climate change. The 16-year-old has now become a recognizable face in the global climate movement. 

When she was invited to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23rd in New York, she refused to attend, saying she didn’t want to increase her carbon footprint by flying.

So a fan stepped in and offered her a ride on a solar powered yacht, and she spent two weeks crossing the Atlantic.

Among those watching this act of personal commitment to the cause are Greta’s peers.

“I think the reason that she's been so powerful is because her style of communication is unique and extremely effective,” said 16 year old Lilly Chertock. She is a junior at Santa Monica High School and a member of Team Marine, a school club helmed by biology teacher Benjamin Kay.

DnA met up with Lilly and with three other co-captains of Team Marine: Isabel Homberg Reissmeier, Anastasia Shakhidzhanova and Ansel Garcia-Langley. 

We talked about their work raising awareness around climate change and plastic pollution (the group won the 2019 Bowseat Ocean Awareness Contest), how they feel about Greta’s position on flying -- referred to by some as “flight-shaming” -- and about persuading family and friends to change the way they eat, dress and travel, even it means being perceived as “annoying.”

Credits

Guests:
Ansel Garcia-Langley - co-captain of Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine, Isabel Homberg Reissmeier - co-captain of Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine, Lilly Chertock - co-captain of Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine, Anastasia Shakhidzhanova - co-captain of Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine

Host:
Frances Anderton

Producers:
Frances Anderton, Avishay Artsy