Thirty eager environmental activists, including multiple Samohi Solar Alliance (SSA) and Team Marine members, joined together on Nov. 16 in a Sustainability Bill of Rights workshop at the Santa Monica Public Library Fairview Branch. SSA has been avidly working on their Sustainability Bill of Rights, which formally outlines nature’s right to clean air and water, among other things.
“It was inspiring to be around people who know what they are doing and who can help us to take on this huge feat for environmental rights,” senior Co-President of SSA Charlotte Biren said.
According to Biren, the event was sponsored by the Neighbors Unite activist group, and was meant to spread awareness about the Sustainability Bill of Rights. The workshop featured prominent guest speakers from the community who are working to pass the Sustainability Bill of Rights through the Santa Monica City Council.
Linda Sheehan, a lawyer from the Earth Law Center, and Shannon Biggs from Global Exchange both spoke about their work to protect the rights of nature and encouraged students to get on board with the Sustainability Bill of Rights.
“The event was really interesting because we had the lawyers who collaborated on the ordinance,” senior Co-President of SSA Jenna Perelman said. “I thought it was a really good way to start to inform the community about the Sustainability Bill of Rights.”
After hearing from the guest speakers, SSA presented its latest invention: the Blender Bike. Created by Ryan Tepper and Julian Mickelson, this man-powered blender works as the biker pedals and is used mainly for the purpose of making various fruit smoothies. The workshop was SSA’s first public presentation of the Blender Bike, and they will have it at Samo’s club day on Dec. 9. Although the Blender Bike is a small step in comparison to the Sustainability Bill of Rights ordinance, SSA feels that it is still step toward a greener lifestyle and a fun way to put innovative minds to work.
“The Blender Bike was really awesome; I thought that was a great idea,” senior Cassandra Kliewer said.
In the future, Neighbors Unite and SSA hope that the Sustainability Bill of Rights will spread to other cities and eventually throughout the entire nation. According to Biren, the ordinance is modeled after Ecuador’s constitution and SSA’s goal is to ultimately incorporate parts of the Sustainability Bill of Rights into our own constitution.
“I think it was really eye-opening and very impressive to see what we’re able to accomplish,” Biren said. “It was enlightening to see how much work can and needs to be done.”