Local Girl Scout Sarah Andrews had a hunch her Gold Award project, which focused on raising awareness about plastic pollution, was going to take her places — but not to the extent she’s reached.
Andrews was recently nominated by the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles for the National Gold Award, one of the highest honors the Girls Scouts of the USA gives across the country.
She is one of 336 girls nominated this year for their Gold Award projects. The 10 winners will be announced in early July, said Melanie Larsen, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.
“We’re really looking forward to finding out if she is selected,” Larsen said.
Over the past year, Andrews, a Burbank High School graduate, has met with prominent people including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) to talk about what the country and state can do to cut down on single-use polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam.
Andrews created a group called the Burbank Planetary Hazard Awareness Team four years ago, and it’s made up of Girl Scouts from Troops 2406 and 1726.
The group’s goal is to let the public know about the negative impacts single-use polystyrene has on the environment, and its members proposed a ban on polystyrene products to the Burbank City Council last year. Council members told them they would take their request under advisement.
In addition to bringing the proposal to city, state and federal officials, Andrews said she was invited to several events, including the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in New Orleans, where she met actor and environmental activist Adrian Grenier from the television show “Entourage.”
“It was so awesome to be there and meet other people that were active in their communities,” Andrews said.
She also attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training and met actor Ed Begley Jr., who told her to let him know if the Burbank City Council ever decides to propose a ban on polystyrene.
“It was really great to know that we had Ed Begley Jr.’s support in the polystyrene ban,” Andrews said.
Although she and her family now live in Alhambra, Andrews said she is still dedicated to helping Burbank develop a polystyrene ban.
Her ultimate goal is to develop her own nonprofit, through which she can further educate the public about what they can do to reduce plastic pollution, whether it is on the city level or changing people’s habits.
“People hear about plastic straw and polystyrene bans and policies on the news, and they’re aware about the issues, but they really don’t know what to do or care enough to do something,” Andrews said.
“We have to start with the public and make sure they’re aware that this problem is serious and that we need to do something about it,” she added.