Town Talk Features

Student Standouts: 10.7.20

Alexandra Hagemeister of Clayton High School

During an election year, candidates from all parties are vying for voter attention. Alexandra Hagemeister of Clayton High School wants people to think beyond politics and look at the bigger picture. The Clayton High School junior has founded I Vote for Mother Earth, an organization dedicated to educating teenagers and young adults on climate change and what can be done to combat it.

How long have you been interested in environmentalism?
When I was 11, I started watching Natural Geographic, but I wasn’t actively researching the topic. When I started high school, I was really moved to do something. I started reading more articles and saw videos about polar bears and other animals impacted by climate change. They really got to me, and I wanted to make sure other kids knew what was going on.

Why do you think teens should understand the political aspects of environmentalism?
Ideally, the environment wouldn’t be a political issue, but the truth is people can make the biggest difference by voting for candidates who will stand against climate change. Recycling and reducing your personal carbon footprint are great, but we can’t incite real change unless we can take action on a larger scale. Teenagers often don’t feel like they have a voice in the government, so that’s why I’m reaching out to them. They may not be able vote in this election, but they will in future ones. Educating them now will help them use their voices later.

Where did the idea to start I Vote for Mother Earth come from?
Honestly, from talking with my mom. I was stressed out. I couldn’t sleep at night because I thought the entire planet was doomed. I felt I needed to do something. She suggested getting other people involved because that’s where change is going to come from.

What is your goal with the organization?
I just started a couple months ago, so right now, I’m just trying to understand how to run an organization. It’s all new to me. I’m working on starting clubs in other schools, reaching out to politicians and spreading the word. I want to educate people. I know climate change can be a polarizing topic, but it’s an issue that affects us all. I want people to take action regardless of political leaning. The dream is to reach kids all over the country, but right now, the focus is St. Louis County and other places in Missouri.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy running and playing sports. I’ll take any chance to be out enjoying nice weather, whether it’s with my friends, family or dog. I’m also very involved with my school’s theater program, which takes up a lot of my time. In previous years, I was on stage mostly, but this year, I’m getting more involved with directing and other behind-the-scenes stuff like casting and writing.

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