By Caroline Johnston
Environmental degradation is a pressing issue in our world, and we have local organizations to thank for taking the initiative to keep our communities safe and sustainable. A relatively new organization called Sustainable Leaders in Action, or SLIA, is the youth-led branch of Sustainable Contra Costa. SLIA works to inspire citizens to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives.
Director and Chair of SLIA, Karen Rosenberg, said, “In founding this group, I truly wanted a place where youth felt a sense of camaraderie and allowed them to make positive change within their community while gaining pertinent skills that would help ease them into a future green job, as well.” The organization is composed of high school student volunteers, college student volunteers, and interns. Since the organization was founded in July of 2020, it has accomplished numerous victories, such as: “[Being] recognized on the county level as the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge winner 2020, publishing 6 e-newsletters that are entirely written/composed by our members and organizing a free virtual interactive event, the Climate Careers Chat (CCC), focusing on the journeys of industry professionals within sustainability,” said Courtney Jane Sanchez, Vice Chair of SLIA. Their monthly newsletters include “environmental articles, personal narratives, recipes, restaurant recommendations, infographics, comic strips, artwork and photographs.” To receive these virtual letters, you can sign up for their mailing list on their website. By publishing newsletters, the organization has been able to educate community members about how they can make environmentally friendly decisions.
The group has hosted one Climate Careers Chat, where they host industry professionals in sustainability and conservation as guests who share their knowledge with citizens, and their second is planned for January 28.
Members of SLIA also commit to an “Action of the Month,” such as taking a shorter shower every day or eating more sustainably, and they encourage other community members to take action alongside them. When it comes to sustainability, little actions can make a large difference, and all great movements must start locally.