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How One Teen is Pioneering Environmental Activism: a Chat with Eco Green Youth

Opinion

September 10, 2023

In a world where the relentless onslaught of climate change threatens our very existence, there exist a precious few who are determined to combat its destructive force. Among these valiant champions, one activist stands out with unparalleled zeal and exceptional abilities – Christian Chang, the visionary founder of Eco Green Youth. With a passionate drive for change, he founded Eco-Green Youth—a visionary initiative aimed at transforming the water pollution within the Bay Area community.

Igniting the Passion For Marine Life

Growing Up Near San Francisco Aquariums And Piers, Christian Chang Enjoyed Gazing Upon Fleets Of Fishing Boats And Graceful Sea Lions; His Imagination Was Captured As The Profound Mysteries Of The Oceans Drew Him Closer To His Fascination For Marine Life.

However, this fervent interest in marine life led to a duality of revelations: he was captivated by the stunning visuals and intrigued by the intricate details of aquatic life, yet simultaneously disheartened by the adverse impact stemming from climate change and ocean pollution. This harmonious blend of awe and concern crystallized the foundation for his journey into the realm of environmental activism, specifically founding Eco Green Youth.

“I started Eco-Green Youth because I was concerned about the damage that was being done to the oceans.”

The Inception of Eco Green Youth

Eco-Green Youth emerged as a response to the mounting damage inflicted on the oceans. The motivation for raising awareness stems from a profound love for the oceans and a determination to ensure their preservation for future generations. Christian recalls moments of snorkeling and scuba diving, recognizing the urgency of change to safeguard these experiences. Christian sought to raise awareness about lesser-known issues regarding marine pollution, directing his focus to an everyday item: toothbrushes.

"I wanted to raise awareness on a more unknown issue, which is why I focused on toothbrushes. I realized that everyone uses toothbrushes, and nobody thinks about sustainable alternatives to the typical plastic ones."

Recognizing the lack of attention given to sustainable alternatives, he and his team embarked on a mission to educate others about plastic toothbrush waste. The early days presented challenges in rallying volunteers, but over time, strategic event planning and partnerships bolstered engagement. Initially, collecting plastic toothbrushes was slow, but as he got better at hosting and promoting booths at events at churches, hospitals, and community centers, gradually more and more people started bringing in their toothbrushes.

The initiative's current efforts center around collecting plastic toothbrushes from dental offices. With thousands of toothbrushes collected, Christian reflects on both successes and hurdles."I just sent in about 3600 toothbrushes to TerraCycle for recycling on 8/12. I have had success at the events I attended, but difficulties in getting supplies of bamboo toothbrushes for the events."

The journey of Eco Green Youth has been an exciting one, filled with many obstacles and victories. Despite the difficulties, this initiative has also tasted the delectable taste of achievement. Being mentioned in a newspaper was an important turning point in Christian’s initiative. This success not only increased traffic to Christian's website, but also acted as a potent amplifier for the issue he fervently wants to solve, raising awareness all around the world.

Balancing Academics and Activism

As a high school student, time management is key. Christian tactfully allocates time for Eco-Green Youth alongside academic commitments, dedicating efforts to updating the website and Instagram page while seizing outreach opportunities.

Christian's approach to educating people about climate change revolves around focusing on lesser-known concerns. By discussing specific issues like plastic toothbrush waste, he and his team seize the audience's attention and encourage active engagement.

“Pretty much everyone knows about climate change and pollution, but they never think about toothbrushes specifically. One of the main points I bring up is that in the US, 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away annually, which equates to about 1 billion pounds of waste which ends up in our landfills and oceans, harming marine life. People usually respond with surprise and start listening to what I say because that fact is pretty surprising.”

Future Aspirations

Looking ahead, Christian envisions a shift in societal behavior, marked by increased consideration of daily actions and their environmental impact. "I hope that more people start thinking about their everyday actions and how they impact the environment. Society has a pretty long way to go and our situation is urgent, but with education and changes in culture, people could start adopting more sustainable practices."

Eco-Green Youth aims to establish toothbrush collection points in dentist offices, further integrating sustainable practices into everyday routines.

While addressing plastic pollution locally, Christian’s ambition extends beyond events and social media. By sparking conversations and promoting bamboo toothbrushes, he hopes to create a ripple effect that encourages widespread adoption and propels the larger movement against plastic pollution.

As Christian Chang's journey grows, it provides a ray of hope for a planet under constant threat from climate change. He has not only had a noticeable impact on his surroundings thanks to his unwavering dedication and excellent abilities, but he has also been able to collect nearly 30 pounds of rubbish, signifying his dedication to a cleaner future. Through the lens of his journey, we are reminded that every action, no matter how insignificant it may appear, has an impact on society as a whole and sparks the possibility of a better and more sustainable future.

Keep up with Christian

Check out Christian’s initiative Eco Green Youth on Instagram

Angelina Manoj
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