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LiveSmart BC Community Hero
LiveSmart BC Community Hero: Ryder Bergerud
As if being a high school student wasn’t hard enough, Ryder Bergerud has consistently gone out of his way to take on some of the island’s and the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues.
“I’d like to help make a positive change in the world,” Bergerud said in a September interview for the Driftwood’s Great Kids supplement.
At the time, the 17-year-old was making that difference on a local level through initiatives like the Islands Trust’s student trustee program and the Global Awareness group at Gulf Islands secondary.
Ryder began sitting as a student trustee with the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee in 2007. As a student trustee, Bergerud gave a voice to students’ demands for a greener island by supporting the island’s public transit system, recycling programs and initiatives to mitigate climate change in the island’s new official community plan.
Engaging other students in the political process isn’t always an easy task, but it’s essential if there is to be any hope of solving the world’s environmental predicaments, he said.
“Most of the work I’m doing now is less individual and more with larger groups of people,” he said.
Since the beginning of the school year, Ryder has been a strong supporter of the high school’s new Environmental Action Group Encouraging Responsibility (EAGER).
Ryder said members are developing a local sustainable shopping guide with island business owners and intend to begin a series of programs aimed at making consumers more aware of the needless packaging sold with so many products.
The group has literally “greened up” the school by adding plants and trees to classroom and common areas. It all comes back to making sure students and other members of the community can see and feel the effects of their efforts first hand. “It’s important to show people that they can make a difference,” he said.