Follow a leader – a Bellevue teenager

Mar 29, 2010, 9:55 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

Wesley Zhao considers himself a typical high school senior.

Twit2He started the year with enough credits to graduate from Interlake High School in Bellevue, so his day begins with a Bellevue College class. Next, he spends a few hours as an intern with CH2M Hill . After lunch he heads back to Interlake for track practice – pole vaulting is his specialty in the spring. He was also on the football team.

Environmentally-friendly transportation projects are becoming a specialty too. He’s behind a website and social media efforts to promote awareness of how basic engineering and transportation decisions impact our carbon footprint.

“I didn’t know too much about green growth and substantially until I started this,” Zhao says. “I’m learning that not only is sustainability good for the environment, it’s good business.”

GreenGrowthCascadeFor the website, Green Growth Cascadia, engineers from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver and Edmondton team up and discuss how engineering and transportation should work together. It also includes basic advice, he says, to “engage the average Joe in how transportation planning affects their everyday choices.”

Zhao admits most of his teen classmates don’t think they can do much about green growth, but little things add up.

“Turn the lights off when you leave a room,” he says, “Something that simple makes a difference.”

Zhao has already been accepted to the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He’ll major in economics, with a minor in engineering because he thinks there’s a “big, booming business in transit-oriented development.”

And on the subject of conservation. Pearl Jam is donating $210,000 to plant trees around Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Business Journal story says planting 33 acres of trees will mitigate more than 7,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Others in this follow a leader series:

The next Bill Gates

The social media queen of KING

Old Seattle money meets New Media

Kickin it with Seattle Sounders FC

Black Pearl Seattle

A Bad Animal with a “Friendly Voice”

Seattle social media stars

The News Chick Blog

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Follow a leader – a Bellevue teenager