The Story of Eco Circle International
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
We are the founders of Eco Circle International. Georgia Scarr and Chloe Young - two teens who have a mission to transition the world towards a culture of sustainability.
Eco Circle International was originally started by us as a small club in school, called the Student Sustainability Team. We implemented various changes in our school such as banning plastic water bottles, introducing composting, giving presentations about the environment, clothes swaps, and more. By March 2020, we both realized that we wanted to expand and impact more people than just in school. It is because of this, that we founded what is now known as Eco Circle International.
Currently, we live in a linear society: a single use item is produced; we briefly use the product; and then it’s thrown into landfill, where the environmental impacts have only just begun. At each stage of the product's life, sustainability is not being achieved. In production, workers spend hours being paid below a living wage, while carbon emissions, air and water pollutants are being released into the air where these workers live. After we use these resources for a short period of time, we just throw it away or use it up without a second thought. The same goes for energy production, and almost any product you can think of in today's society. However, while the item is out of sight, it shouldn't be out of mind. This idea that we only think about the impacts of a product while in use is far from sustainable, and it's one of the main reasons our world is so out of sync.
To us, the ideal future perceives life as a circle. We should live life with the belief that everything should be reused, repurposed, and preserved. The impact we have on the world should be positive and with an aim to maintain peace and prosperity. That's why when you go out with a large group of people, a circular dinner table is normally preferred. You can see everyone - everyone is included and in the conversation. If our society becomes more circular, more people will be engaged in the conversation, and as a result less people will be left behind.
The dictionary definition of sustainability is as follows: ‘the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long term, ecological balance’. While this definition explains what sustainability means in terms of wildlife, this is actually only a small piece of the puzzle. The topic of sustainability involves so many different areas such as global health, economic development, racial equality and so much more. We should all strive to achieve the goal of sustainability. It’s a concept that ties every activist together: positive change that can be upheld without compromising future generations. Sustainability means solving issues without creating others.
You don’t need to memorise the rules of sustainability to be a sustainable person. It’s about changing the way you perceive the world so you view the world’s resources and our actions in a circular way.
Community engagement is at the core of what we do here at Eco Circle International, and grassroots initiatives are a must. From Munich to Chicago, our initiatives are led by members of the local community. Not to mention - by youth. Previously undermined and overlooked, the youth are now powerful. Generation Z brings a new wave of activism, and ECI looks to engage as many youth as possible.
Eco Circle International takes a grassroots approach to everything we do in order to promote long term, sustainable change. It’s not about moving mountains: it’s about moving pebbles. We want other youth to see that you don’t have to be operating at a large scale to make change, and change can occur right in your own community with just a few simple steps.
For us, activism has completely changed our lives for the better. What we have learned from this journey surpasses anything we had learnt in the classroom, on youtube, or in a club. ECI has been and continues to be one of the greatest learning experiences of our lives. Many teens are eager to be involved in something bigger than themselves and find their passion; we wish to share this gift with as many people as possible.
With that said, the outreach of ECI is by no means limited to youth, and engagement of older generations is not only encouraged, it is vital. The climate crisis can’t be solved without everyone, regardless of age, working together. From business sustainability collaborations, to events open to all ages, we seek to involve everyone in our movement towards sustainability.
We see ECI as a tool for local activists, on a global scale, it’s a network of like-minded youth who share resources, skills and ideas in order to create a more livable and sustainable future. Anyone can be an activist, and at ECI we actively cater to people’s strengths to maximize their impact. ECI also offers opportunities for youth, whether it be running initiatives, volunteer opportunities, livestreems or developing lifelong skills such as non-profit finances and graphic design. That's the benefit of being 100% youth; there are no adults to take care of things for us. If we can’t do the task at hand, we learn.
Eco Circle International is more than just a youth environmental group, we are a global network of teens coming together to mobilize generations and actively create a sustainable world.
Chloe Young and Georgia Scarr