By Alyssa Messer

Over the course of the 2024 legislative session, SPYAC members created blog content as a way to advocate for special education and other issues that matter to them. Through this blog series, the coalition is sharing their work and uplifting their important perspectives on school, disability, our education system, and more because we believe youth are experts in their own experiences.

My name’s Alyssa Messer. I am here to discuss my issue about pollution. My legislative district is District No. 20.  And I am also included in the Student Potential Youth Advisory Council (SPYAC). The reason why pollution is an issue for me is because pollution is harmful to nature and to life itself.  I’m 13 years old, I’m currently in 8th grade, and I enjoy being included in things like SPYAC.


I’m worried about plastics and such-like materials that lay around in the ocean and on lands that are seen as food for animals. I’m worried about this because when animals see plastic as food, they will eat it and eventually, they will have microplastic or pieces of plastic in their bodies. It may not seem as much but having microplastics in our bodies can and will cause bacteria and possibly, sickness. I find this really important because plastics and such-like materials can really harm animals and wildlife. It also can harm us because of what we eat; we can eat meat and vegetables. The point is that whenever we eat something, there is a possibility that there are microplastics in the food because of plastics that overload our land and ocean.


You all should care because with the world’s population rising, there’s a much higher chance of people using more plastic and throwing it into the garbage, which means the more plastic there is, the higher chance of having plastic being in animals and plants, which we also could eat. I’d really like people to start realizing that pollution can or will be a big issue later on and start trying to reuse plastics and other materials to lessen the amount of plastic that is going in landfills, and possibly, the ocean. Or, reduce the amount of plastic that is being used everyday.






Alyssa is 13 years old, in 8th grade, and a member of the Student Potential Youth Advisory Council (SPYAC). SPYAC is a new initiative and program part of the Investing in Student Potential coalition that aims to gather, support, and center the voices of students with disabilities in Washington education policy and advocacy work. The program launched last year through the Investing in Student Potential coalition (ISP) and is an essential part of the coalition’s commitment to adjusting our systems to accommodate the complex and diverse needs of students in Washington public schools. The SPYAC is made up of a diverse group of young people of different ages, geographies, disabilities, backgrounds, school districts, and more. They are passionate young leaders interested in disability rights, educational systems, state and/or local law-making processes, and tools for effective advocacy and leadership. The SPYAC also shares decision-making power with the broader ISP advocacy coalition and helps shape the future of this program for following cohorts.