By Emma Melendy, SVHS student —
The Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged people to reevaluate what is important and meaningful in their lives while in isolation. It has also encouraged a group of teenagers to meet to discuss the environmental impact and how we can support sustainability in our community.
Originally this group called The Environmental Ambassadors was hired through an internship program with the Sonoma Ecology Center, where high school students were given the opportunity to educate themselves and others on the surrounding environment and ecosystems of this region. Due to the dedication of those involved citizens, consisting of volunteers and students, this program has evolved.
We now call ourselves the Earthlings, and we are inviting people of all ages to consider being an Earthling too!
Being an Earthling helps those involved feel hopeful for the future of this beautiful planet. We hope to inspire and impact our community and other surrounding communities in this Valley. Our small-but-mighty team meets at the Sonoma Garden Park on Wednesdays, as well as a weekly Zoom meeting on Mondays at 7 pm.
Adrian Cabrera, 16, expands on the idea of how we can make a difference. “Looking at all the deterioration of the natural world surrounding us every day, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel as if nothing can be done. The best thing we can do is take individual responsibility, band together with like-minded individuals, and lead positive environmental change. This group allows people who want a liveable future for themselves and future generations to make a change.”
The Earthlings have been working to find new ways to educate the public on current environmental issues, such as our “Heal the Valley Initiative,” and Earthlings’ website and social media account on Instagram, and our creek cleanup events. With this initiative, Earthlings reach out to local businesses in retail, restaurants, and wineries to encourage and assist them on their future journey to becoming more sustainable.
This is a large project, and still a work in progress. It has been difficult to partner with local businesses in order to encourage them to use more sustainable packaging products because the Covid precautions have had such difficult financial repercussions on local businesses. The Earthlings spoke with the owner of Delicious Dish, Lauren Cotner, and learned about how it has prioritized being sustainable in terms of packaging for their menu items and meals.
Please keep an eye out for any businesses that have a “Heal the Valley Initiative” poster in their storefront window, and be sure to support those businesses because it means that they pledge to become more sustainable. We hope to unite Sonoma Valley through this pledge.
Our next creek cleanup is on April 24 at Nathanson Creek. This volunteer event is open to all. To ensure a spot, please register using the SEC link (provided below). Volunteers will meet in Nathanson Preserve for their registered work times of 9-10:30 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Volunteers will meet at the Nathanson Preserve Demonstration Garden, at Second Street East and East MacArthur Street. Please follow our Instagram account @secearthlings. To volunteer for the creek clean up, please register at: https://sec.simpletix.com/e/65743