No More Business as Usual


By John Harlow, Photos by Christopher Boffoli

Published Apr 1, 2020 8:00 AM

Generation Change

Younger voices take a seat at the table.

Every week at Royce Hall, a couple dozen young people meet to discuss how to make a difference, how to make their voices heard and how to save their world. They work hard, hosting beach cleanups, attending protests and generally seeming to be the catalysts for the change they know is essential for their futures.

They are members of EARTH, or Environmental Awareness, Recycling, and Terrestrial Health (EARTH), one of a wide range of student-led groups all finding their own way to rescue humanity from its past of excess and waste.

EARTH is hardly the only student-led organization fighting to save the planet. In the wake of climate change, various clubs have emerged as students seek unique ways to tackle environmental issues. “I think, compared to other schools, we definitely are ahead of the game,” says senior Kiera Dixon, who is co-chair of EARTH. “We have sustainable buildings. We have so many environmental clubs.”

E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity — another environmental organization — hosts workshops and runs the campuswide Earth Day Fair, which will be held on April 22.

Meanwhile, the UCLA chapter of California Public Interest Group (CALPIRG) serves as activists, lobbying politicians and running grassroots campaigns.

Clean Consulting also takes a different approach by promoting resource-efficient practices to companies that can inspire change.

Clubs even work with UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services, encouraging students to volunteer at their food waste audits in dining halls.

The last fall audit reported the amount of waste at De Neve totaled a record 662 pounds. Although this is unfortunate news, the audits did create a teachable moment and a means for students to educate their peers on the perils of food waste.

In November, Dixon attended the Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles and was moved by climate activist Greta Thunberg. “It’s all about being aware and being educated on what you can do, and it’s easier than you think,” Dixon says.

The different environmental organizations sprouting up all over campus continue to prove that when it comes to saving the planet and creating change, students want a seat at the table. — Louise Kim