New council breaks the ice for climate action


Photo courtesy of @compostologymd on Instagram

MCPS students Emily Liu, Shrusti Amula, and Sophie Nguyen present about reducing food waste during the MCPS Youth Climate Summit, another recent climate initiative.

By Tafa Nukator, Assistant Opinions Editor

Climate change is considered to be one of the defining crises of our generation. From rising temperatures to natural disasters, the effects of this issue can be seen across the globe. With the UN reporting that the past four years have been the hottest on record, it is clear that action must be taken.

Recently, MCPS announced the creation of the inaugural Student Climate Action Council. This group will consist of 12 high school students from across the county who will advise the Board of Education and superintendent on sustainability and climate action.

“The main goals of the Student Climate Action Council are to create the MCPS Climate Action Plan, review and provide funding toward student sustainability projects in schools, and work with the Board of Education and superintendent to create climate action,” Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR-SGA) secretary Sophie Nguyen said.

While there have been climate initiatives in the past, they have often been ignored by students. For effective climate action to be taken within MCPS, student participation is crucial.

“The Student Climate Action Council was created because we need more student involvement and input on how we can combat climate change,” Nguyen said. “It is a great opportunity to provide students with the resources and funding to jumpstart their sustainability projects, creating a greener MCPS.”

With climate change being such a prevalent issue, many students are active in the fight against it. This opportunity is especially attractive to students who are already invested in protecting the environment, and are taking the initiative to do so.

“I’ve always been aware of climate change, but during high school I started to realize just how serious of an issue it is,” WCHS junior Lily Hong said. “The thought of not having an inhabitable future urged me to get personally involved in climate action, and I have since been part of a number of environmental organizations.”

The Student Climate Action Council allows students to explore new ways of combating climate change while having their voices heard. Through the council, students are able to introduce their ideas to make the school system more sustainable and create meaningful change within the school system.

“I want to join the SCAC because it seems like an effective way to get more climate legislation in our county and I want to explore my environmentalism by taking a more political route,” Hong said. “If I get accepted to the SCAC, I hope to implement composting programs and other county-wide programs that successfully make a difference in our battle against climate change.”

MCPS has tried to become more environmentally friendly in recent years, but still has a long way to go. To truly make progress, an effort must be made to use renewable energy and implement sustainable practices. While it is clear that more action needs to be taken, the Student Climate Action Council is certainly a step in the right direction.

“I think our county is trying, but it’s not doing enough to combat climate change, especially MCPS. For example, MCPS still uses methane furnaces for heating, doesn’t fully use LED lighting, and buys only 38% of its energy from renewable sources,” Hong said. “A lot can be done to make our county more efficient and sustainable, and I hope to be a part of that.”