West’s SAVE Protests
In our last issue we reported on EcoAdvocates, the student environmental group at Valley. We’re happy to report that West LA has had a similar group for four years. It’s called SAVE (Sustainability, Action, Vision for the Environment), and under the leadership of Alan Cooper and Sarah Solis members go on hikes and camping trips, hold cleanup days on campus and participate in World CleanUp Day at the coast. For three years they organized a campus Earth Day Fair. SAVE also maintains three garden beds at West, where they grow vegetables for the school’s food pantry, and learn the basics of gardening and composting. Alan calls it “a great way to give back to those in need while also ensuring that some of the food is organically grown.”
Alan says the ultimate purpose of SAVE is educational. He finds West students passionate about the environment but uncertain as to what to do. This year the club is trying to provide some guidance in the area of recycling, with members working on a community program about e-waste and other harmful recyclables. Alan noted that “There’s a lot of room for people to reduce their eco footprint with relatively minor changes in their life. We have to move collectively, and teaching people to be more mindful in their day-to-day decisions can go a long way.”
SAVE acts globally as well as locally. On Sept. 27, members attended a demonstration in front of the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles, protesting that government’s Amazon land policies, which have led to catastrophic fires this year. Cooper said, "What's happening in Brazil is horrible, and it’s still happening, but the outrage when this first came to light is already fading. Activism is really about getting people to keep focused on this issue. The Amazon is one of the most bountiful sources of biodiversity left in the world, and when it's gone, we will never see its like again.”
SAVE’s adviser, Professor Vered Mirmovitch, who has been guiding the club since its inception, reports that many club officers have successfully transferred to UC and CSU’s, and some of those who have graduated continue to be involved in environmental education. Alan intends to transfer to Cal State Humboldt to study forestry and become a park ranger, while Sarah is working on West’s new Climate Science degree before transferring to a UC.
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