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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Terra organization inspires environmental change

With California in the midst of a three-year drought, students are seeking ways to promote water conservation.

Junior Vivian Roan, for instance, has co-founded Terra Environmental, a non-profit organization. The group works with Saratoga’s Environmental Club and California Scholarship Federation Club to organize volunteering events and raise awareness about environmental issues. Because their members come from a diverse array of schools, Terra has a meeting every weekend.

Terra also aims to inspire action with multimedia projects, such as their water conservation video and periodical articles on Facebook and their website (www.terraenvironmental.org), written by their journalist correspondent branch of leadership.

For instance, Roan said, Terra’s water campaign from earlier this year tried to reduce student usage of plastic water bottles.

“[The Plastic Bottle Initiative] was designed to raise awareness regarding the dangers of plastic bottles to the environment as well as human health while also reducing overall plastic bottle use in schools,” Roan said. “We distributed stainless steel bottles to various high schools in the Bay Area along with an information flyer.”

The money for these campaigns are funded by sponsors, and just last year, Terra filed for a 501(c)(3), a tax-exempt organization that offers the opportunity for non-profit organizations to be exempt from federal taxes. However, the group has run into some issues.

“We haven’t heard back in over a year, so we’re trying to expedite the process,” said Vincent Huang, the vice president of public relations. “There’s obviously a long line because there are a lot of non-profit organizations who want the tax deduction.”

According to Huang, Terra’s current goal is inspiring water conservation.

“Due to the current drought in California, it’s really important for people to [save] water, which is [what] we’re really going for right now,” Huang said. “We made a video that we’re trying to distribute throughout the school on conserving water and what it means for California as a whole.”

Around once a month, Terra holds volunteering events geared towards the improvement of the environment. Recently Terra organized an event at Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara, former golf course and the last natural reserve in the city, where students planted trees and refurbished the area.

Huang said one of Terra’s struggles is spreading the word about volunteer events.

“We’re trying to create a network with South Bay high schools so we can [promote] events better,” Huang said. “It’s difficult to [do anything with] audience that [is] virtually non-existent.”

In the future, Huang said, Terra aims to organize an environmental conference like TEDx to share their ideas with other groups. 

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