June 13, 2011
Harker’s peripatetic Green Girls made another trip to Washington, D.C., this weekend, and this morning, Mon., June 13, shared a podium with Steven Chu, the United States energy secretary.
The event was a meeting where White House and Congressional officials discussed Building the 21st Century Grid, a report on restructuring the United States’ electrical grid to facilitate growth through the 21st century. John Holden, director of the office of science and technology, opened the meeting and Nancy Sutley, chairperson of the White House council on environmental quality, introduced Shreya Indukuri and Daniela Lapidous, rising seniors, who shared their story of improving Harker’s energy analysis and consumption with 150-200 audience members. “There were government officials from every level, CEOs of clean tech companies, representatives of the Consumers Union and of private companies there,” said Lapidous.
The two climate crusaders were followed by Thomas James “Tom” Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and Chu. After the meeting, the two girls attended a breakout session where policy was discussed. “At first it was difficult to understand,” said Lapidous, “but after we started listening it was pretty interesting. At other events they have had a lot of rhetoric; here they were actually being practical,” she continued. “They seemed much more willing to listen to young people,” added Indukuri.
The pair plans to ramp up their outreach this year to get more schools, including Castro Valley High School, Castelleja School and Bellermine College Preparatory, to agree to install smart meters or make other energy consumption changes. The pair is also working on a plan to get more Harker students involved in climate change to ensure a legacy of climate crusaders when they depart a year from now for college.
Lapidous and Indukuri began making a name for themselves as climate activists in their sophomore year. In September 2009 they were two of 25 climate youth leaders selected to attend the Governor’s Global Climate Summit co-hosted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; in February 2010 the girls spoke at Google’s offices in San Francisco at the annual Teens in Tech Conference; a year later the two spoke at Power Shift ’11 in Washington, D.C., to 8,000 attendees, then had a private meeting with Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer in the Obama administration, who blogged about the meeting later that week. For more about Indukuri and Lapidous’ activity, search on either name in Harker News Online