The Future is Ms. is an ongoing series of news reports by young feminists. This series is made possible by a grant from SayItForward.org in support of teen journalists and the series editor, Katina Paron.
In California’s Santa Clarita Valley, 18-year-old Julianna Lozada is taking a huge step for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle: She’s implementing the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in her city with the project SDGs for SCV.
“We’re in the midst of a climate catastrophe, and 2030 is going to be a really pivotal year if we don’t do anything about it,” Lozada says. After she attended a U.N. workshop on the SDGs over the summer, she was inspired to initiate a plan to get her community up to speed.
Adopted by world leaders at a U.N. summit in 2015, the SDGs include ending poverty (goal 1), ensuring access to affordable, reliable and clean energy (goal 7), reducing inequalities within and across nations (goal 10) and protecting ocean life and sustainably using ocean resources (goal 14). SDGs for SCV aims to address each of the 17 goals through individual projects created by Lozada or her team of more than 50 students from Global Prep Academy, an experiential school they attend. As a group or individually, students sign up to devise a project based on a passion of theirs, indicating which SDG it aims to solve.
Bridget Yang, a senior at Valencia High School, created Re EnVogue, a series of fashion shows at Global Prep Academy that seeks to address the industry’s devastating environmental impact by recycling and redesigning old clothing to suit today’s trends. Re EnVogue tackles goal 12: ensuring sustainable consumption and production practices.
“I know consumerism is a huge problem in this world today, so I decided that we would only be redesigning clothes that were donated to us,” Yang says. “This month’s theme, ‘Distorted Fashion,’ expresses mental and physical health issues through clothing.”
Other projects include The Oasis, a free pop-up shop supplying clothing, hygiene products, household items, food and educational supplies to lower-income people, and Los Jorneleros, an initiative to provide meals and support to day laborers in the Santa Clarita Valley. “We have come up with around 30 project ideas,” Lozada says. “After we start implementing more of these projects… I want to take it outside Santa Clarita and try to start building it into neighboring cities.”
This piece is excerpted from the Winter 2020 issue of Ms.
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Lozada may be a teen girl, but she aims to create change in her community, regardless of her age or gender.
“Being a woman leading large projects is definitely difficult, but it’s really empowered me and taught me to embrace the values of diversity when working with a team,” Lozada says. “It’s nice to just let everyone see that women can lead large projects like this and it doesn’t have to matter what gender they are.”
SDGs for SCV has been an official project for only a few months, but it’s off to a great start. As Lozada points out, “The U.N. really emphasized [the need] for change to be made on the community level because it’s the simplest and easiest way to make really effective changes.”