Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine presents at the California Teachers Association Fossil Fuel Divestment Forum

On January 23, 2021, Team Marine members Catherine Todd and Jackson Yassin presented to a forum at the statewide California Teachers’ Association’s quarterly meeting to inform attendees about why the California State Teacher Retirement System should divest from fossil fuels. They presented alongside representatives from Fossil Free California, the BATS Caucus, who co-sponsored the event, Youth vs. Apocalypse, and several other experts. 

In attendance were California Teachers’ Association state council representatives from around the state who were interested in learning more about reasons for divestment. Throughout the presentation, each presenter brought a different perspective on fossil fuel divestment. Team Marine, having two of three youth presenters, was tasked with expressing the motivation of youth activists worldwide and telling the story of how they passed a divestment resolution unanimously at the Santa Monica Malibu California Teachers’ Association. The environmental and fiscal perspectives were both discussed thoroughly throughout the presentation. Many representatives used the chat function during the presentation to express their support.

At the end of the presentation, there was a question and comment period during which several teachers posed questions regarding the process of passing a resolution in their local California Teachers’ Association. They discussed what teachers could do to continue pressuring the California State Teacher Retirement System (CALSTRS) at a statewide level. The forum ended officially at 7 pm, but numerous people stayed behind for a discussion that lasted for another full 45 minutes. Team Marine was honored to participate in the forum alongside experts and looks forward to collaborating with other activists in the future to achieve our goal of getting CALSTRS to divest from fossil fuels.

First Flush

The first heavy rain of the season occurred in late December flushing out all the trash that had accumulated in the 5,000-mile-long storm drain system. Urban runoff including animal waste and agricultural chemicals, flowed straight into the ocean creating a potentially dangerous situation for avid ocean swimmers and beachgoers. If you were to have walked along the beach that morning you would have seen our beautiful beach littered with plastic bottles, cigarette butts, wrappers, and miscellaneous plastic shards. A reminder not of the beautiful planet we live on but of how dangerous the chemicals we use can be and how close to home we see the effects of plastic pollution. In the past, Team Marine members have gone to the beach during and after the first flush to capture footage and pick up the trash that was brought in. This year our advisor Mr. Kay went to the beach and captured the impact in the photos below.

Team Marine Wins the Bow Seat Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition

A group of Team Marine students, Siri Storstein-Norgaard, Ansel Garcia-Langley, Isabel Homberg Reissmeier, Anastasia Shakhidzhanova, Nikita Bahadur, Jay Cho, Kian Taheri, Lilly Chertock, Catherine Todd, Karina Wisen and Daniel Thurmond,  won the Gold Award in the International Bow Seat Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition. Team Marine was given a prize of $5000 from our work on the giant plastic bottle, advocacy in our community and our efforts to educate high school freshmen on environmental issues. Watch our video here. Read more in our press release.

Climate Action Fair and Assembly


On September 20th, 2019 Team Marine hosted an assembly during 4th-period classes to educate students about the climate crisis. The event was aimed towards getting those who weren’t striking downtown to be involved in combating the effects of climate change. During the assembly, students heard from 6 Team Marine student speakers, Ansel Garcia-Langely, Isabel Homberg-Reissmeier, Daniel Thurmond, Anastasia Shakhidzhanova, Areianaz Eghbali, and Karina Wisen. They also heard speeches from Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis, SMMUSD Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Coster, and a video message from State Senator Ben Allen.

Following the assembly, a Climate Action Fair was held in the Centennial Quad to allow students to get more involved in environmental organizations. The organizations represented were Heal the Bay, Surfrider, Algalita, Sunrise, Treepeople, Friends of the LA River, Team Marine, One Swap at a Time, Climate Action Santa Monica, and Power California.


Team Marine is Interviewed by KCRW

On September 5th, four members of Team Marine, Lilly Chertock, Ansel Garcia-Langely, Anastasia Shakhidzhanova, and Isabel Homberg Reissmeier, met with KCRW. They spoke with DnA (Design and Architecture), a show on KCRW, to discuss Greta Thunberg and the climate crisis around the would in general. We are very grateful for this wonderful opportunity to further educate our community on the environment. Listen to the interview here.