Growing Up Green

For many of us, subscribing to a sustainable lifestyle takes a lot of effort. But what if sustainability were all that you ever knew? For Kyana Sandoval, 14, being green is second nature. In the Sandoval home, composting, recycling and conserving is the norm. The rules are simple: don’t do anything to contribute to the already dire landfill problem. Gifts are re-gifted, plastic containers are avoided and the Sandovals always bring their own cups and popcorn to the movies. RMPBS sat down with Kyana to learn more.

RMPBS: What does being green mean to you?
KS: Well, to me, being green is when you go to the store, you don’t get a plastic bag, you bring your own bag. And recycling, and composting, and throwing away as little as possible. This [gesturing at a plastic straw] will stay in the landfill for, like, 5,000 years – forever and ever and ever! Just this one straw.

RMPBS: Is it ever hard being eco-conscious all the time? 
KS: Yes! Like this one time, it was after school and my friend and I were going to walk to the mall. So we went over to Dazbog [Coffee Company] and my friend got this plastic cup. But I didn’t say anything, and then she was about to throw it away. But I really wanted a drink, so I had to ask her for her cup - and take it back and be like, “Could you just give me a drink in this cup?”  And it was really embarrassing.

RMPBS: Speaking of your friends, are they supportive of your efforts to be sustainable? Are they as active as you are? 
KS: Well my friends, they try to be more green. And they’re pretty green - most of - well, some of them. OK, a couple of them.
Some of my friends kind of think I’m a freak when it comes to some things. But I’m like, “Well, that’s your perception. Maybe in a couple of years you’ll understand why I’m saying this!”

RMPBS: How did you start to care about these issues? 

KS: Growing up with her! [Kyana gestures at her mother, Denver activist Kendra Sandoval.] Because my mom is so green. I really didn’t have a choice! And I wish that all my friends could’ve learned that way, and didn’t have to get that plastic bag or that drink cup and throw it away. I really hope that more people learn. 

RMPBS: How do you want to continue being green in the future?
KS: Well, I want to be an actress. I want to be a green actress. I want to show people how to do this. And with the media, I think that would be a lot easier. Because I know I look up to all those actors - like Leonardo DiCaprio, people like that - who are green. 

Kyana Sandoval and her mother Kendra will be featured in Lisa D. Olken’s new documentary “Green Up Colorado,” airing Thursday, April 21 at 9pm on RMPBS.

Interview conducted by RMPBS volunteer intern, Claire Finch

Growing Up Green

Check out another "Green" Colorado Teenager, Courtlyn Carpenter. This Fruita Monument senior started the Composting Club after participating in a compost program at Fruita 8/9 School and composting at home.

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