Mahuya Barua was the third-place winner in our Citizen Entrepreneur Contest to honor local green heroes. The high school student is a stand-out for her work to green her campus and as an Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) Youth Representative. How did you become environmentally conscious?
As a high school freshman, I noticed many people at my school were not aware of changes in our climate. Although we had an environmental club, it was not active in bringing awareness to my school community. Students would throw away recyclable matter and administration used energy when it wasn't needed. I wanted to make a change in my school by informing and encouraging everyone to contribute to the green cause. I decided to take action and became the president of Campus Beautification Club, which became one of the action teams for the Alliance for Climate Education.
What would surprise us about your work?
At first, my club did not have enough committed members, so we could not work on many projects. After students saw the ACE assembly and participated in recycling events, they were interested in more green projects. We built a more efficient school-wide recycling program, posted "lights off" signs in all the classrooms, and participated in a carbon-reducing competition known as "The Biggest Loser Competition." We are currently planning to start a Styrofoam recycling program. The more projects we have, the more students have become involved with my club, and the more excited we are to carry out further ideas.
Who is your hero?
My heroes are the students in my school who have become environmentally conscious. They inspire me to continue working hard to make my school and community more environmentally friendly. I love it when they want to be more involved with climate issues and do more great things for the environment.
What has been a recent work success or accomplishment?
My club's most recent project was participating in the Biggest Loser Competition -- we reduced carbon footprints and created habits like unplugging any electrical devices when not in use.
If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?
It would be to use only environmentally friendly products throughout the world and eliminate anything that is harmful to the environment.