(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Aryan Tuteja is heading into his sophomore year at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs. He is a determined 15-year-old who is hoping to inspire those of all ages to keep Southern Colorado clean.
“I was already interested in helping the environment and with climate change,” Tuteja said. “And when I noticed huge waste dumps outside in Colorado Springs, I was really shocked to see how little people care about waste management and how huge it’s affecting climate change overall. So, I thought I should do something to help this and that’s why I created my project to create awareness… more about recycling, composting and incineration.”
Tuteja worked with the non-profit organization Rustic Pathways through their Climate Leaders Fellowship program to bring his idea to life.
“I always wanted to make this change, but I wasn’t really sure how until I came [across] Rustic Pathways, who actually led the way and taught me how I can do this,” Tuteja said. “They really helped me understand what’s around me.”
Tuteja is one of 190 students from across the world who participated in the fellowship program.
“This is a total extracurricular activity that these very busy high school students are signing up for on top of their academic and other schoolwork,” said Rustic Pathways Climate Leaders Fellowship Program Director, John Shu. “I think they just get really excited about meeting other likeminded, impact-oriented teenagers like them from across the world and they kind of motivate each other.”
Students are able to pursue their passions in leaving a positive impact on their local community to help reduce climate change.
“It’s been really cool just seeing the types of ideas that these students come up with,” Shu said. “We don’t really tell them what to do. We just kind of plant some seeds and they go off, talk to people, their neighbors, their friends, family and local businesses to see what types of opportunities for impact there are.”
Tuteja turned to the internet to advocate for waste management reduction in Southern Colorado.
“My first key detail is to raise awareness and promote incineration, composting and recycling and to really widespread the word so that everyone would know how to do it and where to do it,” Tuteja said. “My second key detail of my project is the fundraising. I’m currently fundraising for a Global Fund recycling drive, and I believe that is a really good cause and would help the environment overall.”
To help bring this awareness to those his age, Tuteja was able to share his work through a QR code in his high school.
“Our QR code was actually really helpful because it let students connect to our project more openly and freely,” Tuteja said. “It also gave them very easy access for us.”
At the end of the day, Tuteja is hoping to spread the word of reducing waste in Colorado Springs.
“I believe if we can make it more like, open, accessible, people will be able to recycle more and help the environment overall,” said Tuteja.