Commentary

Act personally for our environment in 2022

Sam Cooper shares important lessons he has learned during his time as a Youth Corp and college student. 

Photo by Drew Dau on Unsplash
Allies and Partners

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship with an appreciation for our surroundings and the well being of future generations. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

"It’s not too late."

Indeed, it never will be. Whatever you heard over the past year – as extreme weather brought a global heat wave and unprecedented wildfires burned through 1.6 million California acres and newspaper headlines declared, “Climate Change Is Here” – global warming is not binary. It is not a matter of “yes” or “no,” or the idea of “too late” or “not too late.”

Instead, it is the matter of, as we hold true to ourselves at ACES, “Think Globally, Work Locally, Act Personally.”

Going into the new year, continuing to develop and apply this mentality is going to be crucial for our planet. Because it is never too late. It is never too late to inspire change and support younger generations. We all must understand that the level we impact our planet and environment is up to us, and it always will be.

As a previous ACES intern at Newburyport High School and a current freshman studying economics at the College of William and Mary, I have learned how our economy interacts with the environment.

When human greed and emotion take over, they tend to go back and forth, tearing each other apart. Yet, when the proper balance is achieved, they continuously reinforce one another, each supporting the other in a unique way.

As an ACES Youth Corps intern from 2019-21, I had a number of rewarding experiences contributing to important environmental stewardship programs.

This made it easy to make the decision to continue working with the organization over my winter break. Dedicating time to marketing, financing and operations projects, I am working on an economic and statistical analysis of data from a survey of Merrimack River users.

In addition, I am also evaluating grant opportunities to support stewardship programs. As someone who is passionate about these subjects, not only do these activities provide exposure to what I want to study in college, but most importantly, it provides funding and support to ACES initiatives and our Youth Corps program.

Supporting the youth will be more important than ever

For the year 2022, contributing to the development of youth leaders and their work in support of our future generations will be more important than ever.

The Youth Corps provides opportunities for students to grow in many ways while working on stewardship programs. We contribute to BOD policy decisions that impact our local environment, initiate and lead projects, serve with advisers on project teams, and write op-ed columns. When asked about what they are looking forward to enhancing in 2022, three active Youth Corps members noted the following:

Andres Lang-Wu

Emmanuel College alumnus Andres Liang-Wu has been reviewing CRM (customer relationship management) systems to help the organization determine which can be used to build better and nurture relationships with constituents and manage data for the future. He has also been reviewing analytics of website activities to enhance public communication efforts about environmental stewardship programs.

Caleb Bradshaw

As the website content coordinator, Caleb Bradshaw has been advancing his writing and creative skills by helping to coordinate the continuing “Guest Opinion Series” in The Daily News of Newburyport.

He sees opportunities for many residents to contribute to the health of our area via helping with ACES programs and projects and the activities of our Allies.

He indicates it would be truly appreciated to have others engage in more initiatives, Caleb explains, such as the Spring Cleanup Campaign and the new Pollinator PowerWorks Network program in 2022. It is easy to check out opportunities on our website and send an email for a conversation. Contributing an hour a week can make a difference.

Helena Strauch

Lastly, Helena Strauch, a new ACES intern from Rowley, explains that being with ACES has given her several opportunities to expand her communication capabilities while exploring her interest in environmental stewardship.

She is interacting with Allies and community officials to contribute to a research-report project on achieving zero waste, as well as developing content for the monthly newsletter.

This column was coordinated by ACES Youth Corps member Caleb Bradshaw. To connect with us and share comments or questions, please send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com or directly to me at kbripper@icloud.com To learn more about ACES, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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about the author
Sam Cooper

A NHS graduate, Sam is attending the college of Willam and Mary. A founding member of the ACES Youth Corps, he was the former president of the NHS Interact Club and involved with other impactful clubs and activities. His contributions to a variety of ACES projects since joining as an intern in the summer of 2019 are a testament to his enthusiasm for environmental stewardship and playing a key role in the contribution to increase the awareness of the importance of stewardship for future generations.

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