For many teenage siblings, affinity and interest in each other’s lives waxes and wanes similarly to the moon’s pull on ocean tides. For Jessica and Luke Marzano, both students at West Shore Junior/Senior High School in Melbourne, it is – perhaps – those very tides that keep them connected.
In 2018, the two launched Global Sustainability Group (www.globalsustainabilitygroup.com), a nonprofit aimed at raising awareness about the sustainability of the planet.
The idea to create the charitable organization started after Jess and Luke started to see disturbing trends at local outdoor recreation areas.
“We love it here,” said Jess, noting that the two spend countless hours at local beaches and on local waterways. When they started to see increasing amounts of pollution and litter in these spaces, they felt a need to start a movement.
Jess and Luke’s parents got involved by helping them establish the non-profit and develop the website. The rest has been managed by the siblings, who’ve coordinated multiple beach clean-ups, planted numerous trees and worked with 81 student and community volunteers for a total of 501 hours to cleanup more than 200 pounds of trash from area beaches and community access areas.
“It has been exciting for me and my husband Peter to watch Luke and Jess work together on a common goal and to take pride in their achievements.
They have learned so much about ecology, stewardship, marketing, communication, public speaking, managing a group of volunteers, and hopefully have made the world a slightly better place in the process” said mom Linda Marzano.
Luke and Jess both have dreams to become medical professionals but also plan to continue running the organization as they work their way through college with the help of their parents.
Both have received recognition from the Town Council of Melbourne Beach and the Melbourne Beach Advisory Board for their environmental efforts.
For Jess, a sophomore who serves on student government and plays volleyball and lacrosse for the Lady Wildcats, it’s about “getting the community involved in reducing waste and thinking about our environment more.” She spearheads these wishes with activism and activities aimed at solving the problem.
For Luke, who’s a senior and a tennis player who loves surfing, hiking and fishing, it goes a little deeper. “Managing Global Sustainability Group has not only provided me with leadership and organizational skills but also shown me the extent of interconnection between humans and their environment. At the end of the day, humans are just animals that make things; we still are still governed by the same environmental principles that govern nature.”
These kids are alright.