Sanaalee Troupe, a sophomore at Garden City’s Waldorf School, was inspired to do her part to fight climate change after an illuminating conversation with her parents earlier this year.

“They sat me down and we spoke about topics such as water contamination and the like,”  says Troupe. “This conversation served as a real eye-opener for me; it really created a burning passion for climate advocacy. And it made me realize in order to change the world, we would have to implement the change we would like to see.”

So she founded the Cleaner Oceans Institute, an environmental advocacy organization comprised of young adults not unlike herself. Beginning with an Instagram account, Troupe created informational content aimed at particular environmental crises, catching the attention of other students vying to be involved. 

Today, Cleaner Oceans Institute has a website and a team of 42 volunteers worldwide. In her role as founder and executive director, Troupe’s gaze is squarely focused on raising support on Long Island.

“I create articles and put information on our website,” she says. “I additionally get in contact with other students from Long Island and New York City to join or attend events, where we will go to schools in New York City and speak about climate change and environmental sciences.”

Events have included participating in the September 20 New York City climate strikes and most recently a series of cleanups held as Jones Beach over a week. Inviting a host of environmentalists, Cleaner Oceans Institute and the volunteers used the opportunity to rid the beach of plastic and any other contaminants. 

“Team members provided bags, gloves, and other materials,” she says. “Then we separate into groups. Some people will sweep the sand, others water, whatever they are comfortable with. Our goal is to divide and conquer.”

With an environmental summit planned for March, and an affordable sustainable clothing line in the works, Troupe shows no signs of slowing down.

“It’s just a really great way for people who want to get into the environmental field to be involved with a community,” she says. “We do local events, where we introduce the team and get to know more about each other. We are trying to create a community and a family.”

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