Ethan Yu, Ally Shirman | April 22, 2019
Did you know that if everyone lives like the average American, we would need five Earths to support humanity? Each year on April 22nd, the world comes together to raise the awareness of environmental issues and inspire others to take the actions necessary to make sure Earth stays healthy.
Today during lunch, sophomores Carolyn James and Noemi Drabkin organized a panel with Environmental Science teacher Fannie Hsieh, and two representatives (Environmental Education Manager at Rethink Waste Emi Hashizume and “zero-waste chef” Anne-Marie Bonneau) from the nearby Redwood City community to speak about how they work to help the environment and what students can do to create as minimal an impact as possible. James and Drabkin coordinated this panel because they felt it important to bring awareness to how we are impacting Earth’s future. “It is important to educate people about the environment and how they can take care of it,” says James. “It’s entirely the people’s responsibility [to maintain Earth].”
Drabkin currently lives a low-waste lifestyle. “When I go get groceries I use reusable produce bags and also try to avoid purchasing items with plastic wrapping,” says Drabkin. Though James admits that she does not currently have a low-waste lifestyle, she says she is “working towards having one. My partner [Drabkin] is pretty good about it though.”
Senior and co-president of the SustainabiLiving Club, senior Ryan Harsono is also participating in the Earth Day festivities. His club has prepared a fun, week-long, bingo-style activity, that you can find here, to introduce some simple ways that people can adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Examples include visiting a national park, taking shorter showers, and carpooling. “Our club’s entire agenda is revolved around promoting people to live sustainably, so even if you aren’t a member of the club, participating in this bingo is a great way to give back to Earth,” says Harsono. The bingo game will last all week and the first three people to win will receive a “mystery prize”.
“There are a lot of small things people can do.” says Hsieh. One example is to plan your meals to avoid impulse buying. “Marketing tricks tend to lead you to buy more food than you actually need,” says Harsono. Single-use plastics are one of the leading causes of pollution. Some ways to reduce your use of these products is to substitute reusable items such as grocery bags, straws, and water bottles. Plastics can also be found in your clothes. “If you are going clothes shopping, try to avoid clothing made of synthetic fibers because it is pure plastic and they are typically not that high quality anyways,” explained Drabkin. “These fibers also end up in oceans because they go down drains and sewers, which is really bad for sea creatures.”
Additionally, many people don’t realize that batteries are not allowed in any bins for disposal, whether it’s recycling, compost, or trash. Hashizume explains that once “there was a fire at a facility that cost over nine million dollars in damage from one battery.” To ensure this type of accident doesn’t happen, take used batteries to drop-off locations in your area, which are a Google search away.
Like the Lorax says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”