Kw-logo-smaller

Caitlin Ohama-Darcus Interview

Caitlin Ohama-Darcus is passionate about protecting the environment.
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus

By: Sindy

Caitlin Ohama-Darcus is an 18 year-old Canadian teen who has been awarded the 2007 TD Canada Trust Scholarship for her work in helping to protect the environment. Kidzworld sat down to chat with her - check out the interview!

Sindy: Tell us a little about the project you created, the Passport to Sustainability.
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: It was a program started to inspire younger students to make small changes to their lives and develop more sustainable habits. For kindergarten to grade six girls, we developed a program that would enable them every day to keep track of their sustainable actions. So it is basically a passport that every girl received at the beginning of the year and it's divided into about 20 pages with boxes and areas to get stamps. So each teacher in the classroom has a stamp with a paw print, which is our school's logo. For every sustainable action, say packing a litter-less lunch, walking to school, carpooling, recycling, doing something helpful in class, the teacher can award a stamp to the student. It's a way to get students motivated to do these types of very small things and also inspire their families to get on board.

Sindy: Why focus on this young age group?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: I thought for the youngest students, they'd probably be the most important group to get on board because they're the ones who, in a couple of years, will be leading the school and also the ones who are going to be the next generation. So if they develop the habits now, in the future it will be so much easier to do this naturally.

Sindy: What are some ways that kids can act in environmentally responsible ways?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: There are lots of important actions like walking to school, carpooling, bussing, packing lunches that don't have extra wrappers so using containers instead, recycling, all these different small things. But then there's also the aspect of sustainability that has to do with relationships and interaction with the community, to get students to look around them and see that perhaps going for a walk or helping with a project or planting a flower has two benefits - the environmental side and also the social responsibility side.

Sindy: Where does your passion for the environment come from?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: As a child, I used to travel a lot with my mom, play in the garden, be at the farm - my grandparents used to live in Alberta and they had a farm - plant flowers, hike in the forest. And so all these little things taught me a lot about seeing the world around me and seeing how my own actions had an impact, even the smallest things. And that has stayed with me until now and is the main inspiration behind everything.

Sindy: What do you do in your day-to-day life to help protect the environment?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: Definitely reducing as much consumption as possible. A lot of it has to do with mindset, respect and enthusiasm towards the subject, not just standing back and thinking, "Okay, what I'm doing today is not going to have any impact, so I can do just whatever I want" but thinking about it. And even if I don't go the whole way by not ever driving in a car or something like that, the fact that I acknowledge that it is having an impact and that there are certain things that can be done to change it, to make up for whatever's happening. I try to walk to school every day, things like that. It can be done, and acknowledging what role you play is most important.

Sindy: All the work you've done to raise awareness for environmental sustainability helped you win a Community Leadership scholarship. What do you plan to do with it?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: Well, the scholarship pays for all of my undergraduate studies and I couldn't ask for a better gift. It takes a lot of worries off my mind and I can focus on studies and doing community work.

Sindy: Do you have any advice for kids who want to start similar projects in their communities?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: Always keep in mind what the real purpose of a project is. It's so easy to get bogged down by prices and decisions and even politics within an institution. Just keep in mind that the purpose of a project is to, say build a school or inspire younger students. With that in mind, you can get it done and inspire everyone else around you - whoever is helping, adults, teachers - to have similar enthusiasm towards the common goal because it's very easy to get lost in the details.

Sindy: Any last words you'd like to say to get kids more involved and more aware of pressing environmental issues?
Caitlin Ohama-Darcus: I think awareness is the key word in the media now. There is growing awareness. I'm not always thrilled with the way things like sustainability and global warming are being presented, but I think it's great that suddenly this is a household word and people, even young children, recognize that it is. So for younger people to keep building their own opinions regarding things like global warming because there are so many different sources and opinions being presented by environmental interest groups, political groups, even environment clubs at school, but if each child can feel confident that their own opinion regarding the matter is the right one, I think is the most important because then that way, you feel personally connected with what you're doing and what you can do to change or help what's happening around you.

Related Stories:

  • Recycling 101
  • Clean Up Your Neighborhood
  • Understanding Global Warming
  • More Cool Ways to Work It!
  • >
    >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    things that go bump in the night
    That's cool. Kudos to you Caitlin Ohama - Darcus.
    commented: Fri May 14, 2010

    there are 1 more comments

    Please login or register to add comments


    like this article?
    Sign up now to get more just like!

    latest videos

    Recycle-poll

    How Do You Keep the Environment Clean?

    • I recycle everything.
    • I don't litter and I pick up any trash lying around.
    • I walk, skateboard or ride my bike everywhere.
    • I reuse bags and plastic containers.

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    GottaLoveDance
    GottaLoveDance posted in Friends:
    "sugarpetals" wrote: "-_-NowYouSeeMeD" wrote: I know a lot of u BELIBERS out there might not like this post..but..still...I'm gonna continue!!!!  JUSTIN BIBER is REALLY TALENTED....I KNOW...I DON'T DENIE THAT AT ALL...but personally as a person I HATE HIM!!  I mean he's horrible....he doesn't care about anyone's feelings he clearly proved that by breaking SELENA'S heart in to a thousand pieces & by almost being kicked out of a country!!!:c (not just any..USA).He also did many other kinds of things which are...heheheh....heheh....better off not mentioning!!!:D  I know I'll never be able to reach where he did at the age of 13 but if fame leads to this...then...I rather stay invisible!!!:3   I KNOW HATE IS A STRONG WORD BUT IT CAN'T BE HELPED WHEN IT COMES TO BIBER :'c CAN ANYONE GIVE ME SOME  GOOD REASONS FOR WHICH BIEBER SHOULDN'T BE HATED?!?!:( AT LEAST ...MAYBE THEN I WILL BE ABLE TO AGREE WITH MY FRIEND!!!!:c I really don't wanna change her love for Biber or anything....I just wanna see...even if for once....those things that she and all of u Justin Biber fans  see in him!!!:)   i am not a belieber but this is no way to talk about Justin. maybe he has his flaws but it is not for us to judge. u want reasons why people like him right then here are they: 1.he can sing 2.they like his music 3.he is cute if u hate him then its your problem.......u don't need to like him just don't hate him because he is human, would u like someone to hate you because of the way you live and choose to be? yes i agree he did allot of horrible things, but what right do you have to hate him? and as far as your friend is concerned....u shouldn't feel bad because she sees something you don't see in him and that has nothing to do with you. I agree with sugarpetals I'm sorry to say but she is right.
    reply 7 minutes
    BookwormKat
    My 2 older brothers & I live with my Mom, Step-Dad, & "their kids". They get out of doing chores, coming home at curfew, and can all but do anything & get away with all of it!!!!!! :e My Mom doesn't like it much but won't do anything about it. HELP!!!!!!!  :bigfrown
    reply about 6 hours
    daredog
    daredog posted in Family Issues:
    Thanks for the support!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
    reply about 8 hours
    daredog
    daredog posted in Family Issues:
    Thanks! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D it's good to know you don't mind! I think I might have lost a friend though... I asked Peter444 and he said he doesn't support gays... I hope he knew what I meant..... :) anyway thanks for the support! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
    reply about 9 hours
    Boysrock50
    It's not wrong, it's not right, it's up to an individual tbh. If you're gay, and others have a problem, then it's them that need to change, not you. Don't give in to peer pressure, do what feels right for you
    reply about 9 hours

    play online games

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    Big_icon_(7)

    Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

    Big_icon_(4)

    You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

    Big_icon_(6)

    The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

    Ow_fright_ad_100x100

    Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...