Introducing Srijesa: New England's Newest Youth Rep

This is a guest post by New England Youth Rep and Junior at Lexington High School in MA, Srijesa Khasnabish.

Hello everyone! My name is Srijesa (Sree-jay-sa) Khasnabish and I am currently a junior at Lexington High School in Massachusetts.

Freshmen year, I entered the auditorium at my school to watch the ACE presentation. At first, I didn’t think this one assembly would hold any importance to me – I didn’t expect to be influenced as strongly as I was. However, after the presentation I wanted everyone to understand the sense of urgency I felt bubbling within me. As my classmates walked by me, I just wanted to tell them “Hello! There’s a huge problem that needs to be fixed! We’ve got to do something!” I felt this way because the presentation helped me realize that the earth is mine, and thus it is my responsibility to care for it and preserve it for future generations. At the end of the day, it’s my duty to do so and change will not happen if I assume others will miraculously solve the issues induced by climate change. The ACE Presentation made me realize that I wanted to be more involved in the fight against climate change and share my passion with others.

In hopes of taking action and spreading my environmental fervor, I decided to join the Global Warming Action Coalition (GWAC) at my school. At GWAC, I met multiple people I could relate to, as we shared similar values. The first project I helped plan and execute was called “Carbon Cut-Down Day." For this project, we had a large piece of paper which we had students sign during lunch. By signing, students were pledging to get to school in an environmentally friendly way on “Carbon Cut-Down Day." I was astonished by the number of people that participated!  Through this experience, I learned that people are willing to help make a change, but many are uncertain of how to do so. By carrying out various projects at our school, GWAC creates an environment in which all students have an opportunity to make a difference. While these changes seem minor in comparison to climate change and all the problems caused by it, I believe even small amounts of change can cumulatively make a significant difference to the world.

When I found out that I was the New England Youth Rep, I felt both honored and extremely excited. The sense of urgency the ACE Presentation evoked within me had finally found an outlet! Through this prestigious position, I hope to inspire others to act now on climate change and understand the universality of this issue: regardless of your profession, your age, or your location in the world, you are affected by climate change. Climate change is a major issue in today’s world – it will not disappear in the blink of an eye. The only way to preserve our precious planet earth for future generation is through diligence and action.

Each ACE event I have attended has had a profound impact on me, and today, I am a person with leadership skills, a strong passion for the environment, and motivation to undertake challenges. ACE has given me a plethora of skills and has driven me to share my passion and spread change outside my community. Therefore, I would like to earnestly thank ACE for giving me this amazing opportunity and I am thrilled to be working with them over the next two years!