By Zamara “Sammie” Fabela February 24, 2019

Have you ever heard about an issue on television or social media and thought to yourself “Wow, that’s terrible… how do I help?” or “Dang, I want to know more about that!” but never get around to educating yourself and feeling unsure of where to start? Well, that was me with the negative changes that the environment is going through. It is hard to avoid the issue of climate change or the fact that our natural resources are dwindling far too rapidly, as these topics are frequently tweeted about or discussed in the news and I always wanted to act but never really knew how.

Luckily, my friend, Angelina Luangphon, was also always posting about the environment but in a different way: through Defend Our Future. I quickly asked her about it, and she helped me get involved as an intern. I am in my second semester with Defend at Arizona State University, and I have already been given countless opportunities to increase my impact on the issues I care most about.

As an intern, I’ve had the opportunities to advocate for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards with the staff of Representatives Andy Biggs and David Schweikert, and I have visited the office of Senator Kyrsten Sinema to discuss the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to head the Environmental Protection Agency. A lot of the work with Defend Our Future truly is work, from canvassing to phone banks to the office visits, but it’s all also immensely enjoyable and rewarding.

Defend at ASU is led by two passionate individuals, Melissa Davis and Nick Petrusek, and they do a great job at keeping us productive and on task, but also allow us to have fun. It is great to know that I am making an impact for the betterment of our environment while also meeting new people, learning new skills, and educating others on the critical environmental issues we’re currently facing.

Zamara Fabela is a freshman at Arizona State University.