”"I couldn’t be prouder of how our young residents are stepping up to participate in the local climate conversation, our youth are joining people around the world who are helping to craft a sustainable future for their communities.”Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City of San Antonio
The San Antonio Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives (MYECCI) was started in 2020 to foster and include the youth voice in the execution of the City of San Antonio’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) which was adopted on October 17, 2019. The mission of the MYECCI is to mobilize San Antonio’s next generation of climate champions and provide them with the tools they need to become effective advocates in their community. The 2021–2022 Council is comprised of 37 ninth through twelfth graders, representing each City Council district and 23 different schools, including public, private, charter, and homeschool. There is a strong focus on engaging youth of color and students that have been historically underrepresented in the environmental movement.
In 2021, Mayor Nirenberg received the Honorable Mention in the Large City Category of the Leadership on Climate Action United States Conference of Mayor’s award due to the positive impact of the MYECCI.
The 2021–2022 Council has taken action through Community Impact Projects and by making key recommendations for addressing community needs through the CAAP. They presented their work and insights to City Council Members and the larger community at the 2nd Annual San Antonio Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council Showcase and the first-ever in-person showcase on May 17, 2022, at Confluence Park. Check out photos from the inspiring event here.
Expand the teams below to learn about the MYECCI members who participated and dive into their Community Impact Projects.
Project: Tonelhuan-Neustras Racies (Our Roots)
The Community Health team designed a workshop to serve the needs of vulnerable communities. They first wanted to understand what the communities’ needs were, so they collected data through a survey of Westside San Antonio residents. In another iteration of this project, students would have liked to get more data from the surveys and use that data to co-host a resource fair with local community partners in Westside San Antonio. The project would prioritize LGBTQ+, women, and BIPOC vendors to bring the community together and provide people with resources.
Caroline (she/her), 16
My name is Caroline, and I’m a junior at Churchill Highschool. I represent District 8. I wanted to join this Council because environmental activism and social justice are important to me; and because I wanted to work together with other passionate people to find solutions and enact change. I believe our natural environment is an intrinsic part of not only our well-being but who we are as humans—that we are more interconnected than we realize. For that reason, if we want to win the fight against the causes of climate change, we have to heal our relationship with our lands, and every voice must be heard.
Grace (she/her), 15
My name is Grace and I’m a freshman at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I represent District 7. I wanted to join this Council so that I could spread awareness about climate change while making efforts to combat it with my peers. I have always spent a lot of time outside, whether that be camping or going to the beach, so I want to combat climate change and preserve the earth and its beauty.
Laila (she/her), 17
My name is Laila and I’m a senior at Idea Carver College Prep. I represent District 2. I wanted to join this Council to better our community, spread awareness about climate change, and help find ways we can decrease our carbon footprint. My connection to the environment is immensely based on the fact I feel so at peace with nature and everything that encompasses it. Whenever I am one with the environment, I feel like I can truly be myself.
Luke (he/him), 15
My name is Luke and I’m a sophomore at Louis D. Brandeis High School. I represent District 8. I wanted to join this committee to learn about what goes into climate policies and to try and make a difference. I am connected to the environment because I am an avid mountain biker and have frequently used the Leon Creek Greenway trail system.
Olga (she/her), 17
My name is Olga and I’m a senior at Ronald Reagan High School. I represent District 9. I wanted to join this Council to become a more responsible and conscious community member and to educate myself on the environmental issues facing our city and their extensive, multidimensional impacts. I am interested in studying environmental law in the future and would love to collaborate to create positive change in our community. The environment provides me with a source of stress relief, internal calmness, and comfort. I enjoy spending my time rock climbing, mountain biking, and going on walks.
The Biodiversity team implemented native plant gardens to build climate resilience near downtown San Antonio. The areas the team choose to focus on have historically had less access to biodiversity and have little plant life today. Students worked with neighborhood residents to identify the best location for these community resources. They, then, applied for permits through the City of San Antonio and local housing associations for their project areas. The team solicited supplies and support from Lowe’s and the San Antonio Botanical Garden. To ensure community buy-in and future maintenance of the gardens, the group got local school environmental clubs, honor societies, and interested students involved in creating and maintaining the gardens and trees.
Aden (he/him), 15
My name is Aden, and I’m a sophomore at Brandeis High School. I represent District 8. I joined this Council because our world is fading vastly. The once abundant life and diverse ecosystems are becoming smaller and smaller. I want to be the change and the voice of a generation. I want to change the world.
Cristina (she/her), 17
My name is Cristina, and I’m a senior at Judson Early College Academy. I represent District 10. This Council perfectly aligns with my passion for the environment and conservation. My whole life I have always enjoyed being outside, and my enthusiasm for the great outdoors has skyrocketed as I’ve explored the U.S. National Parks. My strong connection to nature motivates me to enact positive change within my community and combat the global climate crisis.
Rook (they/them), 16
[bio to come]
Sam (she/her), 17
My name is Sam and I’m a senior grader at Ronald Reagan High School. I represent District 9. I enjoy stargazing, cloud watching, and hiking up the occasional mountain or two! I’ve always been a big fan of the great outdoors and all the beauty the natural world has to offer, so finding ways to protect and conserve the environment is very important to me. I wanted to join this Council because it is the perfect blend of things I am passionate about! I am someone who plans to work in government in the future and someone who cares deeply about the environment. Being on this Council is a great opportunity for me to gain experience, learn new things, and help out the environment along the way.
Project: Little Free Pantry
The Food Security team wanted to help people in need or without access to food or hygiene products. This year, they built two Little Free Pantries for food donations, inspired by Little Free Libraries which allow communities to donate, borrow, and return books from a box on a public street or in a park across low-income areas. These students collected food and hygiene donations from schools and the San Antonio Food Bank. They will set up a space in Woodlawn Lake or Arnold Park, work with the park staff to maintain the pantry, and set up a social media platform to promote more donations.
Katherine (she/her), 16
My name is Katherine and I’m a junior at Incarnate Word High School. I represent District 6. I wanted to join this Council to learn more about the parts of the climate crisis I have yet to be exposed to and to help our San Antonio community. I love our Earth and find my greatest joy in its beauties. I hope to save it in any way I can.
Kathleen (she/her), 17
My name is Kathleen and I’m a senior grader at Louis D. Brandeis High School. I represent District 8. I wanted to join the Council in order to learn more about actions we can take in order to reduce waste and increase resourcefulness in our community. My family makes sure not to waste food and other materials, and we even compost our waste such as egg shells and banana peels. This routine in my life has motivated me to increase the sustainability of our city.
Sophia (she/her), 14
My name is Sophia and I’m a freshman at Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I represent District 6. I wanted to be a part of this Council to gain more knowledge about the environment and how it impacts so many aspects of life. I am looking forward to getting to work alongside other passionate teens and hopefully be a part of a great change within our community.
Symphany (she/her), 17
My name is Symphany and I’m a senior at Harlandale Stem ECHS. I represent District 3. I aim to make my everyday lifestyle habits green and zero waste. I wanted to join the Council to better my knowledge further than just the everyday term “Climate Change.” I hope to spread my new learned knowledge to my family and community and whoever I may cross in the years ahead of me.
Project: Recycling and Waste Management
The Recycling and Waste Management team designed a recycling program where educators can exchange recycled ‘waste’ for school supplies made of recycled material. This program helps provide teachers and students with free materials, addressing the fact that teachers often pay for school supplies, while also educating and showing community members the positive impact of recycling. The Recycling and Waste Management team surveyed educators across San Antonio to understand their needs and willingness to participate in such a program. They got overwhelmingly positive responses from educators and are excited to determine the next steps of growing the program.
Alicia (she/her), 14
My name is Alicia and I’m a freshman at South San Antonio High School. I represent District 4. I wanted to join this Council to raise more awareness not only for climate change but for many other things. I want to bring about the change our world needs and encourage more people to join the movement, as well.
Amber (she/her), 16
My name is Amber and I’m a junior at Sam Houston High School. I represent District 2. I wanted to join this Council to work with others and help my community. Helping the environment has always been something I wanted to do, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so.
Hannah (she/her), 17
My name is Hannah and I’m a senior at South San Early College. I represent District 4. I wanted to serve my city by helping out the environment. Being on this Council feels like the first step of me being involved in politics, one that actually feels like I’m contributing to people. I love to learn about climate change and I even have my own bio garden in my room. I’m very excited to be a part of this.
Linda (she/her), 17
My name is Linda and I’m a senior at Luther Burbank High School. I represent District 1. I wanted to join this Council to gain knowledge, spread awareness, increase my connection to the environment I live in, and keep the environment striving.
Lorena (she/her), 16
My name is Lorena and I’m a junior at the International School of the Americas. I represent District 7. I wanted to join this Council to further my comprehension of the climate crisis by viewing it from the various angles people can see the crisis from. In my current understanding, we impact the planet and those impacts bounce back to us. If we continue to fail to hear how others impact and are impacted, we will miss pieces to the complex puzzle of the climate crisis, and will fail to create the necessary change. I am connected to the environment as I take and add to the environment that shapes and nourishes me.
Project: Sustainable Transportation
The Transportation Team investigated how vehicle pollution affects health and livelihoods in San Antonio. The objective of the Transportation Team was to spread awareness of the auto pollution in San Antonio, TX and encourage residents to consider green and sustainable modes of transportation.
Ben (he/him), 17
My name is Ben and I’m a senior at Central Catholic High School. I represent District 1 and hope to make a lasting impact on it. My connection to the environment comes from my love for gardening. I wanted to join this Council to help San Antonio become a catalyst for environmental change.
Lillianna (she/her), 15
My name is Lillianna and I’m a sophomore at Randolph High School. I represent District 10. I wanted to join this Council to gain more knowledge on environmental conservation and how I can help my community more as well.
Michael (he/him), 17
My name is Michael and I’m a senior at the Edgewood Fine Arts Academy. I’m honored to represent District 6. I wanted to join the Council because, since a young age, I’ve been passionate about our city’s environment. I feel it’s important to ensure San Antonio is sustainable for our future generations. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the civic process. I enjoy running and some of my favorite places to run are the Howard W. Peak Greenway trail system and the Mission Reach trail.
Aracely (she/her), 14
My name is Aracely and I’m a freshman at STEM Early College high school. I represent District 4. I joined the Council so that I can make a difference in my community and, soon, globally. The environment has always been a friend to me whether it’s me lounging on the grass reading a book or planting with my grandma. If I could participate in slowing or stopping climate change, I am more than willing to.
Anish (he/him), 16
My name is Anish and I’m a junior at Saint Mary’s Hall High School. I proudly represent District 8. I wanted to join this Council in order to advocate actionable and effective changes in San Antonio’s prospective climate change policy while collaborating with like-minded peers and forming lasting friendships. Education prompts activism, and I hope to use that in promoting a more sustainable future. I am very passionate about both environmental and social justice and understanding how climate change disproportionately affects disadvantaged teams within the city. In this Council, I strive for long-term solutions to bolster neighborhoods and communities in San Antonio from the imminent impacts of climate change.
Brianna (she/her), 17
My name is Brianna I am a junior at Judson Early College Academy. I represent District 2. I want to join this Council to become more involved with my community. I feel like it is my job to help change the issues happening to the environment.
Cooper (he/him), 17
My name is Cooper and I am a senior at Veterans Memorial High School. I represent District 10. Sir David Attenborough says “It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” The generations that will inherit the Earth in the coming years have a slew of massive struggles ahead of us, none greater than climate change. It is our civic duty to implement climate-wise solutions, starting with our urban landscape. It is time we got to work.
Emmanuel (she/her), 15
My name is Emmanuel and I’m a sophomore at Theodore Roosevelt High School, attending the ETA magnet program geared towards engineering. I represent District 10. I have been interested in becoming a lawyer since I was young. I love to read about animals and am fascinated by them. I wanted to join this Council to unite the youth and community, speak my mind, and build a better future for San Antonio.
Ernesto (he/him), 17
My name is Ernesto and I’m a senior at Central Catholic High School. I represent District 4. I joined this Council to explore solutions to the many health problems associated with environmental issues. I hope the future of the planet will be able to sustain generations to come.
Francisco (he/him) 16
My name is Francisco and I’m a senior at Sam Houston High School. I represent District 2. I wanted to join this Council to get more educated on topics relating to climate change so I can educate my community on ways we can make a small change in the city we all love and live in. I also want to represent the minority and LGBTQ+ communities in San Antonio as in many cases they have less of a voice in what’s going on in the community.
Gustavo (he/him), 15
My name is Gustavo and I’m a sophomore at Theodore Roosevelt High School, attending the ETA magnet program geared towards engineering. I represent District 9. After learning about his council I felt I had to join to create a change. Through the Council, I hope to bring equity and equality into the disproportionate effect of climate change. Further, this Council will allow me to create an impact on the carbon footprint affecting entire ecosystems and species.
Ileana (she/her), 15
My name is Ileana Godinez and I’m a sophomore at Alamo Heights High School. I represent District 10. I joined the Council because I care about protecting our limited natural resources and I want our upcoming generations to enjoy a safe, green planet! The earth has given so many gifts to us and it’s our duty to pay respect to it.
Joselin (she/her), 14
My name is Joselin and I’m a freshman at STEM Early College High School. I wanted to join the Council to make San Antonio a clean and safe environment for future generations.
Josiah (he/him), 16
My name is Josiah and I’m a junior at STEM Early College High School. I represent District 5. I wanted to join this program because I have a lot of interest in climate change, and I believe it’s a topic that isn’t talked about much.
Kenya (they/them), 16
My name is Kenya and I’m a junior at Fox Technical High School. I represent District 2. I wanted to join this council to help the city that I love so much become the best version of itself. I am so excited to be part of this amazing group of young people who are ready to absorb so much knowledge just like me! I believe that even if you aren’t part of this council as a student, you still play a huge part in learning about the environment and what we can do to help—that’s what motivates me most. I hope I can meet amazing people through the Council and make a lifelong friend.
Natalie (they/them), 16
My name is Natalie and I’m a sophomore at STEM Early College High School. I represent District 3. I wanted to join the Council to better understand what goes around our city and be able to put in my part to help better the problems.
Nico (it/its), 14
Hello! My name is Nico and I’m a freshman at Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I represent District 7. I wanted to join the Council because I want to inform people about climate change and its effects on us and the earth. I want to have the earth last as long as possible, all its beauties preserved. <3
The San Antonio Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives is led and facilitated by the sustainability education non-profit, EcoRise, with support from the City of San Antonio Mayor’s Office and the Office of Sustainability, and is graciously funded by the Hollomon Price Foundation. If you are a high schooler or know any students who would be interested in joining the program in San Antonio, please contact Sharon@ecorise.org. Together, #WeRise!