1 in 2,000: Orly Shiner

by Sanjana Deshpande, Features Reporter
photo illustration by Kaila Hanna

Thousands of students from Massachusetts flooded the streets of Boston on Sept. 20, missing school to demand that government officials take action against climate change. Among them was freshman Orly Shiner, who joined in the fight to protect the world she lives in.

Orly said that she is proud of her heavy involvement in climate advocacy.

“I like doing something and seeing that I have a positive effect,” she said. “It’s cool to know that you’re helping a greater cause, [and] I strongly believe in environmental justice.”

Shiner said that her passion for climate activism has grown quickly. 

“I remember in eighth grade, my social studies teacher had us read an article about Greta Thunberg. I thought it sounded cool, so I went to a climate strike,” she said. “I even joined the Boston Climate Strike team and, as I’m continuing to learn about it, I’m becoming more passionate about it. I’ve learned a lot.”

Her sister, junior Yael Shiner, said that Orly is committed to the cause of youth climate activism.

“She’s so dedicated,” Yael said. “I don’t think she’s ever missed a call or a meeting with the Boston Climate Strike team. When she says she’s going to do something, she does it,” she said. “For example, when said she was going to be vegan, she became the most vegan you could be.”

Orly’s climate activism has inspired those around her to take action.

“One of my favorite memories with her is probably when we went to our first climate strike together last March,” freshman Soleil McAneny, Orly’s friend, said. “She got me involved with the Boston Climate Strike group, which led me to help organize the big September 20 strike alongside her. She showed me what activism really means and what it means to stand up for what you believe in.”

 Yael said that her sister’s involvement in climate activism inspires her to work toward being more environmentally aware in her everyday life.

“When she became vegan, it inspired me to work towards a similar goal of consuming fewer animal products. So I have become a vegetarian, and I’ve thought of becoming vegan too,” she said. “She’s also inspired me to not be scared to risk smaller things for a bigger cause, like missing school to go to the strikes, and she’s taught me that it’s okay to stand up to those that you’re most close to. Even though there’s the possibility of losing close relationships if you state your mind, at the end of the day doing so is best for yourself and best for your world and your morals.”

Orly said she supports and advocates for other human rights in addition to climate change.

“I believe in women’s rights, in making sure that the voices of people of color are heard and [generally] in educating people on different causes and what people can do to support them,” she said.

In the future, Orly said that she hopes to continue developing her passion for activism.

“I want to focus a lot more on activism in the future, and I want to become more involved in different causes and different movements,” she said.

Yael said that it has been incredible to watch her sister grow as an activist.

“It’s been so nice to watch her grow. First of all, she completely took activism and researching what she believes in upon herself. That was really cool and mature. She’s made so many awesome friends and learned so much, which is just so crazy,” she said. “She’s always been very determined and organized, but it’s been really cool to see her channel it into something that she really cares about.”