Rochester brings 18-year-old green CEO to area schools
Charles Orgbon III is not your average high school senior. While still in elementary school, his concern for a littering problem on school grounds prompted him to start the Earth Savers Club. Then, he decided to create a website, originally named Recycling Education, now Greening Forward. That’s when I found him, as I was also putting together a website that offered “green” tips and info, and links to hundreds of other environmentally-oriented sites.
Soon, Charles, 18, was also writing a guide to starting an Earth Savers Club for students in other schools. I volunteered to help edit it, but at the same time was very impressed with his thoroughness and writing ability. Today, you can buy it on Amazon!
Following Charles’ growth and progress was an adventure. He’d won many awards, and recognition, even meeting President Obama. Months ago, as the Rochester Group was considering what to do for our annual April environmental forum, Charles’ name was brought up, and another ExCom member looked him up on the web. While we chose Climate Smart Communities for our forum, our chair, Pete Debes, a retired teacher, suggested we also bring Charles up from Georgia to address students in their schools.
Fast forward to April. Within an hour after we picked Charles up from the airport, he was at School Without Walls, addressing a group of Windsor Wade’s Global Studies Honors class, and Janet Siegel’s science classes plus three other classes. Charles’ talk and PowerPoint were well received. He also brought an inflatable Earth Ball, which proved popular to help keep student interest and attention.
That afternoon, we chauffeured Charles to the World of Inquiry School, to meet with Chris Widmaier’s juniors who are in a Global Environment course through SUNY ESF. These students put their own Earth Day event together, and have organized an e-waste collection to help raise funds for a trip to Africa. We are sure Charles’ own successes have encouraged them.
The next morning, Charles met with a couple of vastly different classes at East High School, taught by Dan Sullivan. One young man in particular really challenged Charles, and wanted to know for himself how to keep from being discouraged. (East High is a very large school, and its students are disproportionately disadvantaged economically, as are a majority of RCSD students).
In the afternoon, Charles spoke at John James Audubon School #33, with about 200 of Scott Skolnick and Laurel Avery’s second graders. They were learning how environmental changes affect communities. After that, we met with several teachers who were helping to spearhead the school’s Green Team.
Friday morning, invited by Ann DeMare, we visited Hope Hall in Gates, a private school for students with different learning styles. They were probably the most well-behaved and attentive group of all, and many expressed gratitude for hearing Charles.
Iroquois joins hands against fossil fuels
The Iroquois Group participated in the annual Hands Across the Sand day, a grassroots event, along with thousands of people from across the country on May 17th to protest fossil fuels of all kinds and combined it with a beach cleanup of Lake Ontario. The wind and air was very cold but we left a cleaner beach on the Great Lake.
Hands Across the Sand/Land, founded in 2010, grew into an international movement after the BP oil disaster in April of that year. People came together to join hands, forming symbolic barriers against spilled oil and to stand against the impacts of other forms of extreme energy.
Binghamton draws zero waste activists
Gary Liss, a member of the national SC’s Zero Waste Communities Task Force, held a zero waste workshop in Binghamton in mid June. The workshop was held in conjunction with the first congress of the New York Sate Sustainable Business Council.
Chris Burger, a member of the Susquehanna Group and the Club’s national zero waste task force, helped organize the congress and gave a presentation on zero waste at the Atlantic Chapter’s quarterly ExCom meeting in Binghamton in June.