This earth day, several environmental activists at AT are reminding their fellow Blazers why they should advocate for the planet and how they can do so.
Many of these students and staff take part in AT’s environmental club, which holds events each year to help promote recycling in school and environmental education. Other service clubs, such as Key Club and NHS, also hold volunteer opportunities that involve cleaning up the environment in the Addison community.
Environmental club sponsor and AP environmental science teacher Daniel Fernandez explained why he values the environment so strongly and devotes himself to teaching the younger generation about the planet.
“As individuals who have the power to push for change, it is important for you [students] to have an understanding of past and current environmental issues, as well as possible future issues which today’s youth will face,” he said. “Any level of awareness on environmental and climate issues, along with environmental sustainability practices will help guide you as you make decisions.”
Senior Emma Walis, who is both a member of Environmental club and the vice president for Key Club, also commented on her passions for environmental friendliness.
“Protecting the environment is so important because the planet is the only home this life has to survive. Once it’s gone, we are too. There is no second chance to fix our situation,” she said.
She made a helpful analogy to remind others that the earth is not being properly.
“The way we currently treat nature would be like treating our room as a garbage can. It is extremely harmful and maladaptive to live in these conditions,” she said.
Although it is impossible for students to save the planet on their own, many do not realize that small actions, when done by enough people, can have some sort of impact on the planet’s overall health. Walis and Fernandez both shared some practices that anyone could implement into their lives in order to help take better care of the planet.
“Students can take steps such as only supporting natural businesses, purchasing single use items that are made from natural products, and avoiding using objects such as single use items, plastic items, and gas. Even purchasing from thrift stores is a better option because factories do not need to mine as many raw materials,” she said.
Fernandez listed some additional ideas involving advocacy.
“An initial step is to educate ourselves on environmental and climate issues and on the environmental sustainability practices that help alleviate, reduce, and fix these issues,” he said. “While it is important to work toward reducing our own carbon footprints, we must also work to push for policies that reduce the carbon footprints of larger entities (e.g., energy industry, car industry, waste management, etc.)
Going forward, AT’s various environmentally active clubs will be hosting events such as a locker clean out and multiple Park Pride and nature cleanup events at various parks and preserves in the Addison community.
Currently, AT is also working to recycle. According to principal Jack Andrews, the school does have a recycling truck that comes separately from the truck for garbage.
Fernanzdez said that he was proud of the effort, and simultaneously always pushing for more.
“While we do our best to recycle in our school, from the implementation of bottle-refillable water fountains to recycling paper and reusing school materials when possible, there is still much more we can accomplish,” he said.