Written by Glenn Brassington
Santa Rosa, CA - On April 20, 2023, the Bertolini Student Center at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) was abuzz with enthusiasm as Climate Action Night (CAN) brought together over 300 attendees, including students from SRJC, Sonoma State University, and various high schools across Sonoma County. Co-chaired by Sunny Galbraith, a teacher from Orchard View School (OVS), and Abigail Zoger, a Biology Professor from the SRJC, CAN aimed to address the pressing issue of climate change and inspire action.
View a five-minute video of Climate Action Night created by Karina Konezny here: SRJC Climate Action Night 2023
The event showcased the dedication and passion of young minds committed to solving climate-related challenges. Seventy student presenters, including several groups from OVS, presented their projects. Orchard View students Jibreel Soliman-Dick, Domino Mastrolia, Wyatt O'Kane, Easton Yaconelli, Abby Syrup, Wiley Braden, Glenn Brassington, Sulwen Drapkin, Ananda Doel-Agarwal, Laurel Nathan, Karina Konezny, and Will Heuer presented on diverse topics such as corporate accountability, electric vehicles, textile recycling, and more.
Further, the impact of OVS extended beyond the current student body. OVS alumni played a significant role. Stefan Sharkov and Sophia Chin created a “Bikeable Santa Rosa” campaign mural encouraging attendees to add their own advocacy messages. This meaningful artwork was later presented to the Santa Rosa City Council and now hangs in Santa Rosa City Hall. Meanwhile, Karissa Konezny created CAN’s logo and flier design, capturing the essence of CAN. Ani Fowler and Charlotte Billotte provided invaluable mentorship by guiding a student group throughout their project.
The dedication of OVS students and alumni did not stop there. After CAN, Glenn Brassington, Karina Konezny, and alumna Sophia Chin continued their commitment to the cause, engaging in meaningful advocacy for climate-related policies. They met with staff members of Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymembers Damon Conolly and Jim Wood, amplifying their voices and championing change.
Climate Action Night emphasizes the power of collaboration and individual action in addressing climate change. The event served as a reminder that protecting the environment is a collective responsibility. By empowering students with knowledge and providing actionable steps, CAN sparked a sense of urgency and the determination to become agents of change.
Looking ahead, the spirit of CAN will continue to guide these young leaders as they make a positive difference in their lives. With schools like OVS leading the way, a sustainable and resilient world is within reach for future generations.
As the challenges posed by climate change looms over the world, the efforts and enthusiasm displayed at Climate Action Night inspire hope. Through events like these, we can forge a path toward a more sustainable future, ensuring a planet that thrives for generations to come.