Being green is something many students have been made aware of from a young age, but with the recent United Nations report stating that “Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time;” being eco-friendly is now a global concern.
While large scale actions to curve the recent environmental troubles are often out of reach for high schoolers, there are ways for students and Lee’s Summit residents to do their part in preserving our environment.
Kara Taylor, an Environmental Specialist for the Lee’s Summit Public Works Department said there are many ways for people to get involved in being environmentally friendly. She said the city has several programs, such as Ripple Glass where you can recycle glass, Adopt-a-Street, and Stream Team – and event each year for cleaning up a local creek.
“There is never too much a community can do to aid in environmental awareness and protection,” Taylor said.
Here at West Earth Club is trying to do their part to preserve our environment. Senior Seth Keep is part of the leadership for Earth Club. “While Earth Club is a smaller scoped club, we have tried to encourage our entire student body to be more environmentally aware,” Keep said.
Keep said Earth Club has occasional activities throughout the year, but primarily work to spread awareness relating to being green.
“We have plans for Earth Day, but for the rest of the year, we make signs and announcements concerning recycling, and what can or cannot be recycled, as well as eliminating the use of plastic. Our aim is to teach ways for our students to become more environmentally aware,” Keep said.
Earth Club sponsor, Lisa Boulden, said the easiest way for students to be more environmentally friendly is to think of the small things that could impact the environment.
“Unfortunately, we live in a very disposable world, but being aware of little changes such as not using plastic straws in restaurants and taking reusable bags and water bottles when they go out are good first steps to making personal changes,” Boulden said.
Keep said that his biggest concern is plastic use, as it is not biodegradable and sometimes not recyclable. “The video with the turtle is particularly striking, where they pull the straw from its nose, but that incident is not isolated and only touches on the issues with waste, especially plastic,” Keep said. “My wish is to see a stronger movement away from plastic. For instance, refuse a straw at a restaurant, reuse plastic utensils after washing them, use Tupperware instead of a plastic bag, or use reusable water bottles.”
Taylor said that in addition to limiting plastic use, students have many options as far as lifestyle choices that could help them be green.
“They can reduce their carbon footprint by recycling and reducing their transportation emissions by carpooling, walking, or riding their bike. They can take shorter showers, too,” Taylor said.
Keep said he thinks students sometimes ignore the impact they have if it does not directly impact them. “It seems easy for us as students to disregard any of these issues because they do not directly affect us, but the issues are apparent and change is necessary. Everyone should aim to become more environmentally friendly, and should always be conscious of their actions,” Keep said.
Below is a broadcasting convergence piece where Drayden Wood and Julia Williams explore Bird and Lime as well as describe ways the city is helping to conserve energy.