Club Spotlight: Council on Sustainability


Finn D. '24, Co-Editor in Chief and Writer

Club Profile

  • Leaders: Nellie R. ’22, Alex H. ’24, and Negin G. ’22.

  • Faculty Advisor: Liz Gottlieb

  • Mission: “To focus on educating ourselves and the MA community about climate change and ways we can enact change to reduce our carbon footprint, food waste, and overall our negative effect on the environment.” Additionally, CoS’s goals are “to create an environmentally sustainable way of life for our school and community while engaging MA in climate action and inspiring change.”

Last school year, Marin Academy’s environmental club, historically known as “Climate Action” seemed to be graduating alongside its senior (class of 2021) leaders and long-loved faculty advisor and science teacher, Mark Stefanski. However, the Climate Action club continues, with a new name and new leaders—thanks to three former members’ dedication and perseverance.

At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, leaders, Nellie R. ‘22, Alex H. ‘24, and Negin G. 22’ started up the club, giving it the new name, “Council on Sustainability, (CoS)—and appointing, MA science teacher and fungi enthusiast, Liz Gottlieb as the new faculty advisor.

This past semester, CoS focused on group projects, “focusing on carbon neutrality [and] looking into renewable energy,” says co-leader Alex H. ‘24. The club also worked on “assembling and writing a newsletter that educated [the MA] community and shared a little about what we’re working on, [for example] reducing food waste, communicating with administration to learn more about how [MA students] struggle with sorting food properly, and planning competitions.”

In an interview with Alex H., she described to me a few of the struggles CoS faced last semester, highlighting that “finding enough time, being productive, and finding projects that [are] reasonable for a small-scale environmental club to actually complete is difficult.” These challenges prompted CoS to take a different approach this semester.

In late January, CoS introduced its new goals and ambitions for the remainder of the school year. Unlike last semester’s focus on group-led projects, the club plans to partner with other MA clubs and groups to increase their outreach and impact.

Alex H. says “CoS plans to extend our outreach and partnership to other clubs and groups at MA, working alongside Conference on Democracy (COD) to find speakers and activists in the realm of environmentalism and climate justice.” She highlighted that currently, the club’s main goal is “to make sure that climate has a presence at COD 2022.”

This year COD’s theme focuses on Innovation and Democracy—with CoS “excited to help find speakers and explore session ideas.”

For the past few weeks, CoS members have contacted and coordinated with various environmental organizations and representatives with the hope that they will lead sessions. Thus far, CoS plans to facilitate sessions with Bay Area Youth Climate Summit (BAYCS), a youth-led climate group (although not confirmed), and is currently communicating with other groups and speaks.

In addition to partnering with Conference On Democracy, CoS wants to “collaborate with SurfRider, Garden Club, and Community Action because they all have similar missions related to sustainability and social justice,” says Alex ‘24.

Council on Sustainability is eager to work with members of the MA community, who are passionate about climate, and would love it if students reached out. Their emails can be found above.