NYC Teen's Eco-Activism: Inspiring Change in Her Apartment Building
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NYC Teen's Eco-Activism: Inspiring Change in Her Apartment Building

The Climate Leaders Fellowship empowers high school students to combat climate change in their communities. Students spearheaded projects and united with fellow students to achieve their objectives. In partnership with the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation, this online program fosters impactful experiences. Read Cassidy’s journey and be inspired!

Cassidy Takeuchi
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
New York, New York

My name is Cassidy Takeuchi and I am a high school sophomore in New York City. I am very passionate about the environment, and I have many opportunities to be involved in this movement because of where I live. I have participated in park cleanups, street cleanups, and composting disposals.

At school, I am on the Varsity Volleyball team and a part of the Model UN team where I have learned debate and leadership skills.

In my apartment building, our composting system was canceled because of COVID. I have noticed that generally, my neighbors have neglected to sort their trash and properly dispose of their recyclables.

For my project, I created a newsletter and posters that I send out weekly and post on the bulletin board in the lobby of my apartment building. These include guides to using AI to gather information about composting, models of how to properly recycle, and how to be more sustainable in everyday life.

Additionally, I sent my neighbors a list of composting collection locations that are near where we live in order to make composting more accessible to them.

Talking to my neighbors, I found that my project has helped raise their awareness of the importance of spending the extra time to take care of their trash. More people are composting and recycling, and overall my neighbors are becoming more knowledgeable about how they can build sustainable practices into their lives.

I want to highlight that I do not view my work as finished on this project. I see climate awareness as a vital step to conscientious change in building a better, more sustainable world, and I am continuing my project, adapting it to a larger scale by creating an Instagram account where I share my infographics.

Participating in Rustic Pathways Climate Leaders Fellowship has taught me the power I hold to affect my community and to incite powerful change. This fellowship was an opportunity to become a leader in my community, to use my voice, and to connect with my neighbors.


About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.