I grew up with an early interest in sustainability. Growing up, the concept of reduce, reuse, repair and recycle – basically, do not waste – was always instilled upon me by my parents. Now as a parent myself, I involve my son in making sensible, effective and conscious choices for our family. The sustainability sentiment has been brewing very strongly inside me for many years and my family and I do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and have minimal waste.

But is this enough? Mere sentiment without action is of no use and I felt that I needed to do more to further this process in the community. I have been wanting to co‐write a book on environmental issues with my son, but we kept going back and forth between super‐heroes and wanting to do something different. And on one hot long tiring day as I was taking a long hot shower (and that was the end of it. I am now a proponent of 3-minute showers), my son was knocking on the door as if I was depleting the entire water supply for the planet. Although annoyed, I stopped showering and started thinking. And it was right there and then that ‘Empowering World Change’ was born. In the shower.

Children are the best environmental police! They are the heroes. They have such a direct and honest way of communicating ideas and words simply and effectively. Their enthusiasm can effect change not only within their families but also in their schools and communities, thus generating powerful results. Once they “get it” they are just brilliant at promoting, advertising and propagating this knowledge.

My son is my inspiration.

The choices we all make today are part of the legacy we’ll leave our children and grandchildren. Why not use their help and enthusiasm to make this possible? The concept of spreading environmental awareness in schools started taking shape. Being the art teacher at my son’s school did give me an opportunity to talk to students about energy and water efficiency but when a student from West Valley College Interior Design Program approached Interior Design faculty asking for a speaker for her son’s school science night, the event catapulted my personal goals on the environment issue.

In working together with like-minded wonderful enthusiastic folks, who share the same passion for sustainability and education, the program is quickly developing into a meaningful, substantial project, and has generated a lot of interest and positive response so far. Our presence has expanded from schools (Elementary, Middle and High Schools to Colleges) and Libraries to include non-profit organizations, city events and festivals.

I strongly believe that when we educate kids about environmental issues and provide education on what can be done about it, they become perfect advocates to spread the word…and in a very effective way!

I am trying to reach out to everyone in the community to join in me in this wonderful opportunity to spread environmental awareness. Do it for yourself, for your family and friends, for the future, for the planet. Whatever your reasons, take action. I just did.

Are you with me?

SUSHANTA BHANDARKAR                                                                                                          Mom, Founder, Visionary


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