A Passion to Sustain – Alex, Grade 11

A Passion to Sustain – Alex, Grade 11

A Passion to Sustain

Just before you decide to experience that ephemeral aha moment of discovering a newfound passion, a raison d’etre, beware. For when you are finally bewitched with the eureka lightbulb, it may just stay for life. I was in the seventh grade when I joined my school’s Environmental Club—we called it the EnviroCouncil. There were only really four or five of us, but that was enough to inspire and persuade a passion within us. And we had a mission, for our school served lunch every day for everyone, which meant there were food scraps created during preparation with nowhere to go. 

Yet, in a solidly-built shed a hundred meters or so away from the kitchen, there it was: the Rocket. Now, stay buckled in your seats, for the Rocket was a far cry from an aerodynamic vehicle that soared to the depths of earth’s orbit; rather, it was an industrial composter that ate all the food waste you could ever want it to, and after a day or two, digested it as nutrient-rich compost—perfect for fertilizing our school gardens. And it happened to be shaped just like a spaceship. 

The daily adventures with The Rocket taught me something I could never forget. What I learned from hauling these hundreds of buckets with rotting carrot peels and broken eggshells was how every small action leads to a bigger difference—just like our lives. For Roald Dahl once said, “A life is made up of a great number of small incidents, and a small number of great ones.” It is the small incidents that pave the path for the great ones. 

The earth is facing a climate crisis, being attacked by nature itself. According to How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates, the earth’s vulnerabilities are openly multiplying, but none are single-handedly as serious as the effects of greenhouse gasses, in which 51 billion tons worth of carbon are released annually. Perhaps our only chance at avoiding catastrophe, as outlined by Bill, is to eliminate vast amounts of carbon emissions by 2050—through breakthrough technologies that include renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. As urgent as it seems for corporations and governments to initiate change, it is even more urgent for people, for humanity, for you and me, to simply understand. Because only with knowledge, will we care—and many small bouts of care are what equate to meaningful action on a large scale. 

And so, these small bouts of care were what inspired the foundation of my seventh-grade EnviroCouncil, and marked the beginning of a passion to sustain. A campaign to eliminate plastic bottles. A beekeeping project. A box to collect used markers. A competition to recycle the most plastic bags. And, of course, a spaceship that loved carrots.