Don’t be a Fossil Fool: Senior Leader Activism


Martine Ibarra

In the face of a struggling world, Bishop O’Dowd Student student leaders never shy away from building a better one. September 1st begins the mark of the Season of Creation, the reconnection of humanity with the environment. The Season of Creation emphasizes the importance of caring for the world we live in, and advancing sustainability in order to do so. Solidarity in Action is a student leadership team with fourteen selected superstars on campus who have a drive for enacting social change. Starting at the beginning of September, Solidarity in Action partnered with Eco Leaders, a student leadership group dedicated to environmental stewardship, in this month of advocacy to intertwine social justice with environmental justice. SIA members and Eco Leaders have been working throughout the month on projects combating environmental injustice and bringing more attention to sustainability issues within our school community. On and off-campus, students in these leadership positions have worked continuously on their projects for the promotion of the Season of Creation. One team is focusing on incorporating environmental topics within the ninth and tenth grade math curriculum. Members have met with the head of the math department, Carlos Trujillo to highlight environmental injustices within problem sets and projects, like calculating sea level rise and forest fire circumferences. They have also gone a step further to meet with other departments, specifically the English department, to reduce paper usage.

Another group partnered with “Oakland Student Service,” a student-led non-profit organization focused on empowering youth to get involved in community service. Eco and SIA members helped OSS founder, David Gibbs, organize events involving his non-profit. A week ago, the team took to the streets of Oakland Technical High School to organize a stem fair with Kits Cubed, a non-profit focused on teaching STEM subjects to young children. During an interview with David Gibbs,  member of Solidarity in Action and founder of OSS, he stated, “We were able to combine the Season of Creation and OSS to engage a large student audience to get out in the environment and advocate for environmental protection and nurture.” David’s work intertwining the leadership teams will continue to blossom past this Season of Creation. 

Additionally, the leaders of the Climate Action Week group utilized a global call to climate action in order to increase our community’s awareness and sustainability. When asked what her favorite part of the partnership between Eco Leaders and SIA, Ashleigh Winkler, a member of Solidarity in Action, replied, “The different perspectives and intersection of people who want to fight for social justice and people who care about the environment.” After tirelessly advocating and meeting with the deans, Ashleigh and her group were able to alter the typical O’Dowd school day and integrate Climate Action Week within the dress code and announcements. She spoke on her accomplishments, “I worked with a small group to change the dress code and I think that really got people to care for climate change and action week.”

On September 23rd, 2022, all members of both SIA and Eco Leaders grouped together to take action on a current coal crisis in West Oakland, attending a protest in Downtown Oakland. This protest was successful with not only extensive news coverage, but residents from across the city, ages ten to sixty, joining the movement in saying no to coal and yes to life. 

These dedicated members have worked tirelessly to fight for climate and environmental justice, and their work has manifested in incredible community change. Although, the Season of Creation is coming to an end, their work on and off campus will proceed with their commitment to justice and leadership.