Lindsay Maurer is president of Ukiah High School's environmental club. Press Democrat photo by Jeff Kan Lee

 

By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

At 17, Ukiah High School student Lindsay Maurer already is hard at work trying to improve the world.
Last school year, she led the school’s environmental club in lobbying Mendocino County and city officials to implement a ban on disposable, plastic shopping bags.
Her efforts may have provided the extra push the cities and county needed as they mulled the idea. They’re in the process of preparing environmental impact reports on banning the ubiquitous bags, the first step in the process.
“It’s really exciting,” said Maurer, president of the environmental club.
Maurer and club members didn’t just lobby government officials; they worked to raise public awareness of the bags’ environmental effects by attending public events, during which Maurer sometimes wore a head-to-toe “bag monster” costume made of bags.
The group also held a raffle at local businesses aimed at educating the public about plastic-bag pollution. People who brought their own bags to participating stores were entered to receive prizes that included pottery and gift baskets.
Maurer is ardent about the bag issue.
“I did some calculations. We use about 8 million plastic bags in Ukiah alone” each year, she said.
Those bags are blamed by environmentalists for littering the world’s landscapes and oceans and for being both ugly and a danger to wildlife, which can become entangled in the flotsam or die from ingesting the bags.
Maurer’s environmental activism didn’t take a break during summer vacation.
She did some just-for-fun traveling, including to Alaska and Mount Shasta, but she also attended two weeklong seminars, one in Los Angeles on sustainable business and one in Wisconsin on sustainable development.
Maurer is honing her environmental knowledge and activism skills for her future.
She plans to focus on environmental studies when she heads to college next year, preferably to Stanford or Pomona College.
Her long-range plans include entering a field that allows her to participate in creating environmental policy, possibly by entering politics.
Maurer is likely to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to, said teacher and environmental club faculty sponsor Ezra Post. He said she’s motivated and a natural leader.
“She’s the brains and main energy behind the club right now,” he said. “She’s done a really great job collecting the momentum from her peers and getting people to work together in a positive way.”
Maurer also is a top student, fluent in Spanish and excels at sports, Post said.
“She’s destined for anywhere she wants to go,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com.