Gen Z is often looked at as a more mindful generation, and although that may not always be the case, it often rings true with so many young activists rising to fame, such as Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, and Autumn Peltier. And even those who aren't full-time activists still manage to do their parts and inspire others. For example, Green Matters caught up with 15-year-old Netflix star, Symera Jackson, to hear about her "Green Routine," and it's seriously inspirational for adults and teens alike.
"Though it might be considered cliche, the Earth is our only home," the Team Kaylie actress tells us via email, explaining why living sustainably is such an important aspect of her everyday life. "The environmental problems humanity faces now result from our carelessness and lack of effort towards protecting and supporting our planet."
Recently, Symera has been gearing up for her highly anticipated summer vacation. She just finished her sophomore year in high school, and now, she's looking forward to a few months spent with friends, going outside, traveling, and — as an actress — auditioning. Being a kid from California, she has always loved spending time in the great outdoors, so she's looking forward to swimming and going to the beach quite a bit over these next few months.
"I am embracing the free time my summer break allows, so I've been reading, spending time outside, and going swimming. I’m looking forward to safely spending time with friends and I’m also going to Disneyland this week," she tells us excitedly.
"I can't wait to spend time at the beach because I miss the ocean and swimming in the water for hours. I have always felt connected to the ocean ever since I was a little girl. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I have not participated in beach clean-ups, which I hope to do later this year," she explains, proceeding to share her "Green Routine" with us, below.
GREEN MATTERS: Why is protecting the planet important to you?
SYMERA JACKSON: As a member of Gen Z, I believe it is essential that move to live more sustainably before the damage done to the Earth is irreversible. I have a deep passion for the ocean, and according to many reports, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, the year I will be turning 45! This is devastating news. These are just a few examples of why protecting the planet is important to me and should become a priority for all.
GM: What has your sustainability journey looked like?
SJ: My household has always made an effort to be sustainable, thanks to my mom and dad. We recycle papers that we've printed by putting them into our "scratch paper drawer," to use whenever. To conserve energy in the daytime, I don't turn on many lights and instead rely on the sunlight from the outdoors. I always carry a reusable water bottle if I'm going somewhere, whether on a hike, in the car, etc. I also don't take plastic utensils or straws from food establishments and instead use metal straws and reusable silverware.
GM: What is the biggest change you've made to live more sustainably?
SJ: I have made a conscious decision to limit my shower time to conserve water. I love the shower (it's a great place to sing), and time seems to stop once I step inside. My family has a chart in the bathroom that talks about water consumption, explaining that one eight-minute shower will use around 16 gallons of water! When I comb or wash my hair in the shower, I make sure to turn the water off while brushing, shampooing, and conditioning to limit my water usage as well.
GM: What is the one tip you give anyone trying to go green?
SJ: The biggest tip I'd give is to start small. The idea of going green can seem daunting, but it can be easily achieved. Instead of grabbing a plastic water bottle, bring a reusable one from home; recycle your cans, bottles, and papers; turn the lights off when you leave a room. It's the little things that matter, all of which are simple changes you can make in your everyday life.
GM: What is the biggest misconception about living sustainably that you have discovered?
SJ: The biggest misconception is that living sustainably is an all-or-nothing concept. You can perform little tasks and make simple changes in your lifestyle and be sustainable. You don't need to create an elaborate plan or make massive sacrifices; it's just a matter of making conscious choices to go green.
GM: Is there anything you've taught your friends about sustainability, or is there anything that your friends have taught you?
SJ: I've taught friends about switching to reusable water bottles. It is an effortless change and cost-effective.
"Green Routine" is a series from Green Matters that invites notable people in the environmental space to share the efforts they make to live more sustainably.