Since Earth Day was first observed in 1970, students have been at the forefront of change to protect our environment. Amid numerous environmental crises, from climate change and air and water pollution to the destruction of ecosystems critical to all life on Earth, this generation is taking action. Our CALPIRG Chapters have been working to create a greener and healthier future, since we were started in 1972, and we’re excited to continue our work to win concrete victories for the environment this year.
Check out some of our highlights from Youth Earth Week this year:
Clara Castronovo and Katie Wagman from our UCLA chapter organized local lobby meetings and a beach clean-up with students and LA City Councilmembers to advocate for action on plastic pollution and clean transportation! Since winning a campaign to restrict single-use plastics in all unincorporated areas in LA County, the team is advocating for a strong ban in LA city, as well. With the recent campaign victory, Los Angeles County became the largest government entity to restrict single-use plastic food ware items from restaurants, stores, hospital cafeterias, and food trucks.
At UC Santa Barbara, students launched a week of action to call for action on plastic pollution. Over the course of the week, students knocked on doors in Isla Vista to collect wasteful single-use plastics and other packaging from online shipments students had received to their homes and educated their peers about AB2026, and other opportunities for policy action! CALPIRG Students used the plastic they gathered to build a 6′5″ plastic monster sculpture as a visual representation of the problem at hand. After the rally, students paraded through Isla Vista, as organizers led the crowd in chants and songs to Depressions beach where they wrote “YES ON AB2026” in the sand in big letters calling on the state legislature to pass the bill.
CALPIRG students at UC Riverside spent this Earth Day handing out upcycled piggy banks to students and signing up support for their campaign to phase out single-use plastics in California and address plastic waste from e-commerce by advocating for Assembly Bill 2026
________________UC Riverside’s Earth Day fair where students handed out upcycled piggy banks in exchange for a campaign action!
Students at UC Berkeley gathered petitions and photos near Berkeley’s Sather Gate on the ‘More Nature’ campaign to protect 30% of public lands in California by 2030. They educated students about the conservation efforts of the California Natural Resources Agency and called for stronger plans that would achieve 30% highly- to fully-protected ocean areas that limit most or all taking of natural resources.
_______________UC Berkeley students take photo petitions in front of Sather Gate to call for the conservation of 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030.
In addition to our work on ocean protection, our chapters have been calling for a clean vehicle future. Environment California, The Climate Initiative, CALPIRG Students, and ValleyCAN have teamed up to help accelerate California’s transition to zero-emission transportation. And we just launched our new website! Read more about our work in our blog post “In Pursuit of Future Earth Days.”
And a bonus highlight from CALPIRG’s archives! Young people have long led the way forward on key environmental issues, and we’ll keep working hard beyond Earth Day to organize our communities, win victories for our planet, and represent the voices of students in politics.