“I realized that I could do more for the world and that my actions and views can really impact many people.”
Name: Brittney Carlos
Hometown: Reseda, CA
Education: Cleveland Charter High School
Passions and Interests: Sports, Lewis Howes podcasts, and a future career in social work
Transformational Experience: Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure
Making an Impact: Created a Zero Waste Club at her high school
GLA Alum, Brittney Carlos, is a senior at Cleveland Charter High School in Reseda, California. With a part-time job at a local Baskin Robbins, and classes at the local community college, she has a lot on her plate. But that didn’t stop her from creating a club at her high school that aims to make a difference by educating her peers on the negative impact human-produced trash is having on our world.
Her club is called the “Zero Waste Club,” and Brittney was inspired to start the club after her GLA trip last summer. The program she went on was the Beachside Service Adventure in Costa Rica. On her program, one of her service activities was a morning beach cleanup, and this specific activity is what sparked her interest in trash reduction and led her to start the Zero Waste Club at her school.
The beach clean up made me realize how much humans are not only polluting our oceans, but the entire world. I started the Zero Waste Club because I wanted others to be informed about the impact of human produced trash on the environment. I knew I could teach others that making small changes in their daily routines can make a large impact on waste reduction.”
There were a few hurdles in getting the club started, but Brittney was determined to make it happen. She needed official school documents and contracts, as well as a teacher to sponsor the club and allow meetings and social events to take place in their classroom.
There was also an election process, as each official school club must have a president, treasurer, etc. The final step was an interview with the school’s leadership teacher (who is in charge of all clubs), in which Brittney had to explain the overall plan and long-term goals for the club and how she envisioned the club impacting the students and the school in a positive way.
Finally, after a somewhat lengthy process, the Zero Waste Club was official! It started out with five members, but has since grown to 24 members, which Brittney considers a huge accomplishment and milestone for having only been around a few months. (We agree!)
One of Brittney’s main goals for the Zero Waste Club is to educate and inform her peers on the detrimental effects of certain types of trash on the environment, and to share the idea that even the smallest changes matter and every step is a step in the right direction.
We try to teach the members the outcome of plastic waste and its inability to decompose in our landfills. Also, how it is bad for the animals in our oceans because they may confuse it for food, which often kills or badly injures them.”
In addition to sharing knowledge about the effects of plastic and other waste materials, Brittney’s club also teaches members how to make eco-friendly products that are sustainable for the environment.
One example we made recently during Valentines is a coffee-based face scrub. It started with each member bringing their own reusable jar from home, and then we provided coffee and coconut oil to stir in, which are natural safe products. The result was a product they can use at home everyday so they don’t have to go to the store and buy plastic packaged face scrubs that will end up in our landfills taking years to decompose.”
To get the word out and help fund their DIY eco-friendly products, the club often attends school events like fairs and open houses. When guests purchase water bottles or sodas, club members will ask if they can return it to their booth when finished to ensure proper recycling. All proceeds from the recycling goes back into the club so they can continue making their products.
Brittney also makes the point that although the club is called “Zero Waste,” she and her members are not expecting everyone to suddenly eliminate their waste production entirely overnight.
The goal is not to have my members be orthodox Zero Wasters and drastically change their lives, but simply to teach them that they can make small changes in their daily lives and make a large difference. We praise the idea that reducing waste is not an automatic cure for the earth’s environmental damage, but more so how any little change will have a stronger effect than doing nothing at all.”
After Brittney graduates this year, her club will continue and a new president will be elected. She said that no matter who takes the reigns as her successor, she is confident that she is leaving the club in good hands. As for future travel plans, Brittney wants to explore the world and experience the different cultures and customs around the globe. She also wants to continue making a difference and sharing her knowledge and ideas with those around her.
I want to leave the world knowing that I did something rather than regretting I didn’t.”
When we asked Brittney to sum up her philosophy on life in one sentence, she had a simple, yet truly inspiring response:
Live in Service.”
Program Brittney attended:
GLA Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure
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