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Meet the Teen who can Make your School Run on Clean Energy


Simon Aron Interview, Green Schools Campaign

Meet the Teen who can Make your School Run on Clean Energy 

⏱ Read time: 5 minutes

EarthPlex has interviewed a variety of teen climate leaders, and many of them were involved in the Green Schools Campaign (GSC). EarthPlex had the opportunity to interview Simon Aron, the founder of the Green Schools Campaign. We discussed his work and involvement with GSC along with his opinions on The Green New Deal and more.

Can you describe how you co-founded the Green Schools Campaign and how you assembled a team to work with you?

My involvement in the Green Schools Campaign started from a simple Instagram DM. It was about a year ago, and I was just beginning to realize the enormity of the climate crisis. I decided I needed to do something, but I didn’t know how, so I reached out to Climate Reality Los Angeles chapter via Instagram to see if they needed help. Turns out, they were beginning to create the youth committee, and I was just in time! I became the co-chair and along with actor and director Calum Worthy we decided on our first initiative––the Green Schools Campaign.

After that, we started to formulate a team, using our networks and that of Climate Reality LA. Over the past months, we’ve continued to expand our team, especially through social media.

What is your role as a co-founder of the Green Schools Campaign?

As the co-founder of the Green Schools Campaign, my main role has been to coordinate our entire team and make sure everything is running smoothly. I also end up doing a lot of other random things that come up, from spreadsheets to websites to interviews.

Recently, I’ve decided to step down from running the campaign day to day. I made that decision after a lot of thought, but running the GSC has been a lot of responsibility and I think it’ll be good for me to have a break from that, at least for a while. Lily Morse is going to become Executive Director and we’re currently in the process of developing more new leadership as well! That will all go into effect in a few weeks.

What is your role as a content contributor for Climate Action Now?

Climate Action Now is a start-up climate action app that I worked for last summer, and continue to work for on and off when I have time during the school year. The app has thousands of actions that can be taken on your phone to stop climate change, and it's my job to help write those actions!

Can you describe your involvement in the Sunrise Movement?

Right now I am a hub coordinator for Sunrise Movement’s Los Angeles Youth hub. Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process through a Green New Deal. Along with helping in general hub-wide planning, my focus is on national and regional strategy, so I work with other Sunrise hubs to protest and fight for a livable future!

Why do you fight for a Green New Deal, and what would you say to critics that claim we can’t afford it?

The federal government is happy to throw money at fighting endless wars and bailing out big corporations, but when it comes to saving our planet and everyone on it from extinction, we shy away from the problem. 

Climate change is already costing the U.S. economy at least $240 billion a year, according to a study by National Geographic, and that number will increase to over $360 billion a year in the next decade. The Green New Deal will, in the long run, save money, and at the same time we will be boosting the economy. We will create millions of good, union jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits, safe working conditions, and training and advancement opportunities. 

The idea that we can’t afford the Green New Deal is right-wing propaganda aimed at protecting the status quo, where the rich are getting richer meanwhile working-class families who are going to suffer the worst effects of the climate crisis are struggling to put food on the table.

As a freshman in high school, how are you able to balance your schoolwork along with organizing climate action events and your extracurricular work?

I can always find time for climate organizing, but the difficult part is avoiding burnout. Burnout is a common experience for activists, where you put your work above your personal health and end up becoming exhausted. I avoid that by spending time doing things that nourish me, like playing guitar or being with friends.

There are many millions of buildings running on fossil fuels? Why does your campaign focus on schools?

As the climate crisis worsens, young people will be affected the most and are already leading the global fight against climate change. Of all the places we as students can make a difference, schools stand out because we are already their most important constituents.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

That’s an interesting question, but honestly I’m not sure, because almost everything I’ve accomplished has been in partnership with other people. So I don’t like to claim any particular accomplishment for myself.

As a Buddhist Jew, does religion play an important part in your quest for climate action?

Religion, or at least spirituality, absolutely plays a role in my climate activism. My fight for a just, livable future is also a spiritual fight. Spirituality inspires my activism, and it also helps me to ground myself.

What advice would you give young people who want to become leaders or fight for what they are passionate about?

My advice is: don’t do it alone. Find a group of people that can support you in your activism work. You are so much more powerful if you act as a community. If you live in the US, see if there is a Sunrise Movement hub near you! If you don’t live in the US or don’t have a Sunrise hub that you’d like to join, then look around in your community for other youth climate activism groups, or make your own!

Be sure to follow the Green Schools Campaign on Instagram, and remember to follow EarthPlex on social media as well!

Click here to read our other interviews!


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