ROOTing For Earth

By: Jupiter Polevoi and Anjali Nayak

One of Westmont High School’s newest clubs, ROOTing For Earth, targets environmental change through agriculture, botany, and gardening. Working closely with the Westmont farm, RFE meets interchangeably in room 46 and after school at the farm. We interviewed the co-presidents of the club, Amanda Kappenman and Maria Edirisinghe, to give you a closer look at the club’s overview and goals. 

What inspired you to start ROOTing For Earth?

Maria: I’m an intersectional climate activist, starting with GreenPeace and now with Silicon Valley Sunrise. I’m very passionate about the environment and climate justice so starting this club was an opportunity to reach out to my peers about environmental change.

Amanda: I’ve always strived to be more environmentally friendly, especially when it comes to gardening and plant-based alternatives. By starting this club, I’m now able to educate others to do the same.

What is your favorite aspect of gardening?

Maria: I enjoy the variety of gardening, and how you can grow virtually anything and also cross hybrid different plants. It’s also proven to boost your mental health, which I’ve experienced first hand, so it’s all around a super pleasing experience for both me and the environment. 

Amanda: Not only does gardening improve mental health, but it’s also a great chance to spend more time with yourself and the earth. Being able to care for a plant and further harvest the outcomes is a reward to both yourself and the planet.

What do you hope to achieve this year/what are your goals?

Maria: My goals this year for ROOTing for Earth are to spread awareness about climate change and gardening to my peers at Westmont. I think it’s super important to spread awareness about such a pressing topic and adding another environmental club was just the way to do that. 

Amanda: This year, as it’s our first year running the club, one of my main goals is to build up and improve garden use at Westmont. That way, students not even in ROOTing for Earth, are able to practice sustainability on their own terms.