The YES Conference is an annual conference of youth from all over the extended Bay Area. It was held in the Bay Area Metro Center in downtown San Francisco. The day had a schedule of 3 sessions of presentations and activities with a breakfast and lunch provided. Over five hundred students and educators attended the event. The YES Conference features middle and high school students from nine counties around the Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. The purpose of hosting the event each year is to raise awareness about how our choices affect the planet and even our local communities. Specifically, it created an environment where youth from local schools could educate themselves on environmental issues and discuss various solutions to the issues of we as youth will be dealing with for most of our lives. Taking leadership within our local community to come up with solutions to problems which threaten all of our futures is an important step in improving the planet.
At the YES conference, we did a presentation about what we have done so far and the steps we have took to implement the 3-bin system at Oakland Tech. The waste and the 3-Bin system relates to Climate Change because trash contributes to the production of greenhouse gases which causes global warming.
Our presentation consisted of a timeline which included descriptions of all of our meetings and events from September to December and upcoming events. We explained the steps we took to implement the 3-Bin system at Oakland Tech and difficulties we experienced. After our presentation we had time for the audience to ask questions and also played a sorting game with them. People from the audience came up and began sorting items in the 3 separate bins.
Despite the last minute changes of where our presentation was held at, we were able to overcome the adversities thrown towards us. After Jenna had introduced us and had briefly mentioned the 3-Bin system, it was our time to take over. We all spoke in loud, confident voices demonstrating our knowledge and how far we’ve journeyed to bring the 3-Bin system to Oakland Tech. Even though switching locations of our presentation was unsettling, and having disturbance of noises during our presentation made it harder for us to focus, it is safe to say, that overall, we did extremely well in our presentation due to our circumstances.
Sylvie, Coco, Jessica, and Vivian went to the workshop called Preserving the Environment Through Government Policy. A presenter from the San Jose Youth Commission Board presented a powerpoint on how to create change in your community through legislation. She provided us with information about superfund sites, which are polluted sites contaminated with hazardous substances, located all over the country, specifically the San Jose Target, which was built right above the superfund site contaminated with toxic wastes. Some superfund sites are even classified as extremely dangerous where there is a potential of contaminating drinking water. She recommended that we join our local youth commission, where we would work with council members and come up with laws that can help the earth. We split up into pairs and wrote down environmental issues in our community we’ve observed. We then brainstormed ways to change these problems and ideas that could be made into laws. Through the workshop, we learned that even as youth, we could make a big difference in our communities as long as we speak up and fight for what we believe in.
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Lucy, Maribel, and Nicole attended the presentation on electric cars. The presenter had one of the 2017 models of the electric Chevys, and explained that many other companies are going green and releasing electric model car options. During the presentation we learned that car dealerships prefer to not sell electric cars because when the customer purchases an electric car they get a deduction on price as well as a tax right-off, and since the customer is paying less money they dealer makes less of a profit. Many large stores are adding plug-in stations to their parking lots so that their customers who own electric cars are able to recharge the battery while they shop. An app and website was created so that people were able to find the closest charging stations and see if they are in-use, residential chargers, public stations, and high power stations; the app and website is call “PlugShare”.
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Jennifer, Suzanne, Jazmyn, Nicole, Lucy and Maribel went to a presentation about bicycles. The presenter spoke about safe riding. Teaching signals that one can do in order to communicate with other drivers. In the beginning of the presentation they made us do an activity about having to go to the side of the room appointed, in sections of: Do you walk to school? Do you ride a bike to school? Are you driven to school? And etc. There was discussion as to why many people drove cars instead of walking, bicycling or using public transportation in their areas. Around the end there was a final activity where 4 participants were in a street traffic scenario, they had to figure out how to communicate and let each other pass. They later showed us an example of a bicycle with neon lights, and told us how that’s a good way to prevent accidents at night time, making yourself more noticeable. They also showed us their car mascot that’s remote controlled, it was a very adorable mascot.
It was truly empowering to see how it felt to be surrounded by other young leaders, especially when so many people are making such a powerful difference to the world. It was also interesting to be informed by so many other people on little steps every individual people can take in order to help slow climate change. We attended the YES Conference to present the installation of the three bin system within Oakland Tech. We educated others on the need for a three bin system and discussed the procedures taken to achieve our goal. Landfills have pressing environmental issues, such as the release of an extensive amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we felt it important to inform others on how to minimize the damage to the earth.
Written By: Sylvie, CoCo, Jessica, Vivian, Jazmyn, Jennifer, Suzanne, Lucy, Maribel, and Nicole
Great job interns!
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