Rozy and Project Earth at Edina High School are members of Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN). YEA! MN is a core program of Climate Generation, dedicated to engaging and empowering high school students to lead on the transition to a just and resilient climate future for all.
This year, the city of Edina has been working tirelessly to address climate change and energy usage. While Edina’s Energy and Environment Commission has existed for a long time, a new program was set up this year in collaboration with Xcel Energy. This group, called the Partners in Energy Team, worked throughout the school year to develop a complete and detailed Energy Action Plan. The focus of the plan was divided into three areas: residential, business, and municipal facilities. The steps laid out in this plan will be implemented in the next year.
As the student representative on this team, I got the chance to see the power of government policy in making measurable change in a community. Later on in the year, many students helped plan our 5th annual Environmental Forum. This year the forum was titled, “A Smart Energy Future: Will Edina Lead the Way?” Various local speakers came to present about the importance of clean energy solutions. We discussed the small steps individual households can take to reduce their carbon footprint and how our city can help make these solutions more accessible to all families, regardless of income.
The youth voice is crucial to the environmental movement, which is very apparent in the city of Edina. The environmental club at one of Edina’s middle schools, South View Middle School, has been very active this year. At Edina High School, many students have been doing their 10th grade “passion projects” on everything from polar bears to global warming to wind power. Project Earth continues to thrive as the environmental club at EHS, and hopes to expand greatly during the next school year. Many students are a part of Edina Go Green, a group which has been working on developing new recycling systems for all Edina Public Schools. Edina’s Student Environmental Leadership Council, which reaches across both middle schoolers and high schoolers, is pursuing a new project this summer in partnership with the organization called iMatter.
As Edina High School gears up this summer for widespread construction, saving energy is a big concern. The city and school district have been working together to integrate energy saving techniques into the new building layout. Within Edina, our community is extremely privileged to have access to an abundance of resources. This year especially, we have realized that it’s imperative to put these resources to good use.