Interns Present at the Zero Waste Youth Convergence!

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Student Blog

The Zero Waste Youth Convergence brought together over 150 students and young leaders to be informed, discuss, and take action on waste issues. The day was compiled of diversity sessions throughout the day. Oakland Tech Earth Team had the chance to presented their Replication Package and got lots of positive feedback. The presentation consisted of a Kahoot live quiz to engage the audience, a slideshow, and finally a video. Even though it was a short 15 minutes everyone got a chance to speak and gain experience talking in front of such a large audience.

Check out a play by play of the day from our interns themselves! 

Morning Session Debrief:

The morning session overviewed what the event was about, outlined the events that followed later throughout the day, as well as covered a lot of information about past events. Event leaders were speaking, particularly environmentalist leaders. The speakers were talking a lot about their personal lives in addition to their environmental accomplishments. I learned that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. There was a lot of encouragement to put yourself out there and to stand up for what you believe in, no matter your age or your influence.

Afternoon Session Debrief: 

I went to the afternoon session that had presentations from different people talking about repurposing and reusing materials to keep them from going to the landfill. The first presentation was from the man that runs the brand Sonoma USA and he takes old billboards, signs, clothing, and other such materials that would otherwise be thrown out and he turns them into different kinds of bags that he sells. I really liked his presentation because he talked about how he was already in the textiles industry and he saw the opportunity to keep some items out of the landfill and decided to make it happen with the resources he had. He also mentioned that he has other plans for the future to expand this idea. One example was how he wants to work with his local dry cleaner to replace the plastic covers that are on clothes before they are returned to their owners. He wants to create custom bags for people out of similar materials that he makes his bags from.

The other afternoon presentation that I saw was by people talking about “repair cafes” that they have where they set up tables with tools in a big gym and many people bring their broken electronics. The community of people works together and about 70% of the appliances are fixed by the end of the day. This was a cool concept because it encourages people to put effort into their electronics and not just buy a new one because it is broken. To me, this seems like a good way to keep things out of the landfills and become more independent people.

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Earth Team’s Presentation Debrief: 

We presented about three bin system; specifically our replication package. We wanted to provide it as a resource for people from other schools and communities at the convergence who might be interested in implementing or improving their own three-bin systems. As a group, I think we communicated our message clearly and played our individual roles well. It felt like we were part of a movement bigger than just us, just tech, or just earth team.

Final Session Debrief: 

After we presented, there was the group of girl scouts and Alameda high school on boba straws. I liked seeing the Girl Scouts present because they knew so much and attacked such big goals at such a young age. Their PSA was so good! Then, they turned it around and was like “you can help” it was really cute and informational. I love seeing younger people involved in things like this and being aware of the things that happen in the world. Then there was Alameda High School with the boba straws. They made these kits for boba with a glass jar and a stainless steel straw. They got store owners to actually use the kits they’re selling. I loved seeing people my age doing so much good in the world and motivating to see what people can achieve when they’re committed and care. I hope they never stop!

The panel was also very informative and inspiring. I learned a lot about how to make a change in systems like schools, city government, etc. I definitely took away that it is possible to make a big difference, even when there is resistance to it.

Thank you to all the volunteers that made this year’s Zero Waste Youth Convergence happen! We had a great time!

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