Harker Green Team discusses upcoming sustainability goals


Kinnera Mulam

Green Team co-president Camilla Lindh (12) talks about protecting Coyote Valley from industrial development during the club’s meeting last Wednesday during long lunch. This local place is a location Green Team has been working on saving since the beginning of the year.

by Kinnera Mulam and Ananya Sriram

Harker Green Team gathered for their sixth meeting to discuss updates regarding their goals for the school year in upper school Spanish teacher Diana Moss’ room on Wednesday, Dec. 1, during lunch. 

Co-president Camilla Lindh (12) kicked off the meeting with an update on Coyote Valley, the Bay Area’s only remaining open valley floor. The area is useful for animal migration and agricultural workers. On Nov. 16, The San Jose City Council prohibited industrial development in the North and Mid-Coyote Valley region.

“We’re trying to keep our club members updated on the preservation of Coyote Valley since it’s something local that we’re trying to preserve,” Green Team vice president Gary Ding (11) said. 

Secretary Thresia Vazhaeparambil (12) informed the club about the significance of the Bring Back Better Bill, which will alleviate the effects of climate change. She also called on members to write to their representatives to ensure the bill’s approval.

Thresia continued on to discuss the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and land that Harker is built on as well as the Green Education Foundation textile recycling initiative. Green Team plans to collaborate with the tribe and the Student Diversity Coalition (SDC) to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by clothing and footwear production. The textile recycling initiative accepts any textiles, including soiled ones, and will collaborate with the tribe’s zero-waste factory in Guatemala that repurposes any textiles it receives. 

“I never knew that our campus [land] was [occupied] by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe,” Green Team member Sophia Degoricija (9) said. “It’s nice to know that we can give back to them and thank them for their land because I know a lot of places don’t really do that.”

Afterward, the club watched their video on Divestment, a movement to decrease schools’ use of fossil fuels, made during their previous club meeting on Nov. 12. Green Team filmed the video to encourage Harker to divest from the world’s top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. 

“So far the sustainability committee has seen [the video] and we’re waiting for the investment committee to give us feedback,” Gary said. “We’re hoping we can really make progress with Divestment at Harker since it’s something that is really important to focus on.”

One of the club’s major goals for the year is working with the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), a nonpartisan nonprofit that empowers United States residents to write to representatives and lobby for policies to benefit the environment. The Green Team discussed the need for the government to place a tax on fossil fuels to prevent carbon pollution. Hoping to work with more youth on making climate changes, they also gave updates on their communication with CCL for a workshop available to all Harker students on climate legislation, which is scheduled for June 2022. 

Green Team is also looking to loan unused parking lots to support their clothing collection bins for their upcoming 2022 clothing swap initiative in which students bring old clothes to the collection bins and have the option to select others’ used clothes. The meeting concluded with a reminder for gift-giving during the holiday season, with club leaders suggesting more sustainable gifts such as shampoo or conditioner bars.