Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Popham Scholarship for Environmental Leadership

I have always been an activist – long before I entered politics I was advocating for changes towards a world where people live sustainably with each other and the environment. Because the environment has always been a major motivating factor in my life choices, I decided to put my money where my values are.

There are three secondary schools in the Saanich South riding, and I, personally, offered each school a $500 scholarship for students demonstrating leadership in environmental issues; global or local. The three schools, South Island Distance Education (SIDES), Claremont Secondary and Spectrum Community School each chose their own recipient. Here is what I learned about our Saanich South high school students.

L to R: Lana , Kristine Chen, Kaia Bryce, Sierra Kemp
Kaia Bryce, of SIDES, really understands the importance of environmental sustainability. She has been very actively involved in campaigns against the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal and environmentally damaging federal legislation. This Gulf Island youth will be going on to study Environmental Studies and Political Science at the University of Victoria in the autumn.

Sierra Kemp, of Claremont Secondary School, has one year of high school left where she will participate in the Institute for Global Solutions (IGS) program – setting even more ambitious goals for herself. During her year in grade 11, this Saanich South youth organized and created opportunities for fundraising towards a new bike compound at the school.

Finally, Kristine Chen, of Spectrum Community School would like to share the following tips for “Going Green”.

  • Eat less meat 
  • Recycle everything possible, reuse everything possible and return anything possible 
  • Buy fair trade; locally 
  • Stop 75% of junk mail by signing up on the “Mail Preference Service” on the Direct Marketing Association website (for a fee of $1.00) 
  • Stop receiving unwanted catalogs by visiting “catalogChoice.org”
  • Take shorter showers 
  • Use cold water for laundry 
  • Hang clothing to dry instead of using clothes dryer
  • Carpool, bike, walk or jog to destination
  • Pay bills online
  • Give up plastic and paper bags
  • Trade paper towels with reusable microfiber towels 
  • Only start a fully loaded dishwasher
  • Lower the temperature in fridge
  • No dry cleaning
  • Increase gas mileage by checking tire pressure 
  • No bottled water 

To all three scholarship recipients, I offer my congratulations and best wishes. You are wonderful young women and you remind me to hold onto hope for our future.

Thank you.