Sophie Anderson is Taking Packer by Storm
Packer Junior Sophie Anderson stands wearing a climate strike t-shirt.
On September 20th, many Packer students walked out of their classrooms in the middle of third period to join other schools in the Brooklyn Heights area on the trek to Foley Square. Sophie Anderson (’21), however, was already working behind the scenes to make that day possible. Liv Furman (‘20) describes Sophie as “a firehouse” and commended her on her ability to “get things done.” We know that Sophie will surely impress the Packer community with her lovely and energizing spirit.
Sophie recently moved to New York from San Francisco and is currently a junior at Packer. She felt drawn to environmental activism because her upbringing taught her to be involved in social advocacy. Back in San Francisco, Sophie began her activism work about a year ago through an organization based in the United Kingdom called “Extinction Rebellion.” This group declared open rebellion on the British government because of their failure to address climate change. Sophie said that “the philosophy of the group is using civil disobedience to get attention.”
At the time, Extinction Rebellion had recently begun a youth group in the UK, so Sophie advocated to start a similar group in the United States. “We were seeing this rapid growth [in awareness]… Greta Thunburg had just begun school striking,” said Sophie, “so [the reality of climate change] was starting to creep into everyone’s consciousness.” In March, Sophie began speaking at marches and became a leader in the climate change activism world.
Currently, Sophie is one of the national coordinators for the United States chapter of Extinction Rebellion. Her job is to connect different working groups within the organization.
She was incredibly happy with the turnout for the march. “I did not have any expectations because I’ve only been [at Packer] for a couple of weeks. The excitement that came out of it gave me hope for the future.,” she explained. “I hope that the energy carries on throughout the upcoming months.”
During the rally at Foley Square, Sophie went up to the stage to greet Greta Thunberg. Of the experience she said, “To be in front of 300,000 people was not something I had ever experienced before. It was energizing to have everyone standing in front of you who are super passionate about the issue. It was hard not to be really fired up.”
As a new student at Packer, Sophie hopes to bring experience in environmental activism to the community. She has already become a leader of Earth Club and started brainstorming ways to make Packer more sustainable.
“I also hope to get Packer students more involved in the advocacy work that I’m doing because [while] I think that changing the school and our lifestyles is really important, what we are really fighting for is system change, and that includes getting more people involved in our groups,” Sophie said. “There were a ton of students who walked out and I’m sure that some of them would love to get more involved more frequently because that is what we need, people being involved regularly, not just these massive strike days.”
Because it is such a pivotal time, Sophie wants to make sure that all of the momentum that has been built up is put into action. Although systemic change is the bigger goal, Sophie wants to push for reusable cutlery in the cafeteria and work towards making Packer carbon neutral.
We are incredibly excited to see what other ideas Sophie will bring back to the Packer community. She is truly an inspiration and we are all so lucky to have yet another brilliant activist to motivate us to fight for change.