Bella Quiroa

Bella Quiroa is a rising Junior at the East Bay MET School in Newport, Rhode Island. She’s held an internship at Clean Ocean Access since October of 2023 and has developed a passion for environmental advocacy. Through her time at COA, she’s helped her mentor in schools starting composting programs and tackled re implementing a composting program at her school. These experiences would then influence her project work at school, in which she curated two presentations in her community about environmentalism and composting and donated 5-gallon buckets to families to start composting at home. She aims to make more positive impacts in her community to help further implement the idea of environmental consciousness.

Passions Can Lead to Change

02 Aug

The environmental crisis worsens as time passes, and it seems like there is no hope. News stories about wild fires, polluted air, flash floods and so many more harmful things happening to our planet are frequently seen on our TVs and feeds. How will me using a paper straw at starbucks help these issues? How will me riding a bike rather than my car to work help these issues? How will me doing anything help these issues? How…do we continue to have this mindset? Why are we so pessimistic with this issue?

We’ve been overwhelmed by the huge crisis at hand, that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important: we are not powerless. I know It may seem like the solution is in the hands of these big corporations that are doing the most harm, but we are not without responsibility as well. These little changes may seem pointless, but they’re not. A little really does go a long way. But if you want to do more than just the little things, what can you do? If you’re not an environmental activist, how could you make any big impact? Well how do we do most things? We try.

Whether your passion is teaching, coding, music, art, or anything, you don’t have to feel like you can’t assist this movement in some way. I have a passion for media production specifically through film making, graphic design, and photography, and I used to think I didn’t have the right skill set to make real change, but I do, we all do.

At my school we focus on developing projects throughout the year through our “real world learning”, or learning through internships. When it came time for me to look for a new internship my sophomore year, I solely focused on finding an internship related to video production and film making, because I knew I was passionate about those things. My search wasn’t going great, so I went to my advisor for advice, and I think what she told me can be applied to more than searching for an internship. She told me to stop limiting my search for sites that were directly related to my interest, and to start searching for sites where I could apply my interest.

My search then went from looking for film production companies, to looking at every local business and organization I could contact in my community. This led me to Clean Ocean Access.

At first, I was reluctant to join Clean Ocean Access. It was a non profit organization that focused on environmental advocacy through programs, events, campaigns and more, and I didn’t see a way I could be of help to their organization. Although I was passionate about activism, I only focused on social injustice issues. I had never seen myself as a big environmental advocate, more as a “good civilian who could support the movement”. Regardless, I listened to my advisor’s advice and gave Clean Ocean Access a shot, and I couldn’t have made a better decision.

My first day I immediately hit it off with my mentor and I had already developed a project idea for that trimester. I would go onto organize a fundraiser for my school’s composting program. I called the fundraiser “Carving for Compost”, and the idea was that I’d contact farms around my state to collect extra pumpkins that were grown during the Halloween season that would otherwise go to rot for a pumpkin carving fundraiser. This derived from the fact that many farms in America mass produce pumpkins for Halloween, and most of them go to waste in our landfills.

Through this project I harnessed my skills in media production by creating posters, infographics, presentations and more to advertise the fundraiser. This is just one instance out of so many that helped me realize that there were so many ways my skill set could be used to help environmental advocacy efforts.

Giving Clean Ocean Access a chance not only showed me how my passions could make real change in the environmental movement, but it also helped me find a passion for environmental activism, and to see how I could connect it to my existing interests. You can also find ways to harness your passions to assist the environmental movement, or any movement for that matter. No matter how small the effort may seem, it isn’t pointless. There is every reason not to do something, but don’t let those reasons blind you from why you should at least try. Your passions can lead to change.

Posted By Bella Quiroa

Posted Aug 2nd, 2023

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