Green Team Takes on Earth Day

Tillie Mendoza, Staff Writer

Green Team members

With Earth Day coming right around the corner, Erie High School’s Green Team is planning ahead for what they can do to increase environmental awareness across the whole school.

Science teacher and Green Team’s club sponsor Julie Mitchell says she is managing the club this year and was inspired to do so because she has “[S]een such a passion in the students to become involved in their community and to do something good with the Earth.” She believes Earth Day can mean something different to everyone, so the team’s main goal to tackle the holiday this year is to spread awareness.

Mitchell says, “It feels like our world is so simplified, in some ways, with what takes the front page news, whether it’s politics or the pandemic, and so we feel like the environment has sort of taken a backseat with all of this. We are hoping that by bringing awareness, it is something that each of us can use to help make a difference. Whether it’s big or small, we want to be helping to accomplish something.”

Past Earth Days have been spent with things like poster sessions, but this year the team sees extra room for environmental improvements since community interactions have been different. Mitchell says, “In a strange way, all of us are reaching for connection this year. So I feel [that] by helping to build a community after we have been so fragmented with online and virtual learning [recognizing Earth Day] seems more important this year than in the past years.”

Students who are not official Green Team members are also encouraged to show their support for the planet in ways that they can, like joining Webex Fridays at 10:00 using the link Mitchell adds, “It is a pretty fluid membership, just come when you can; we want to encourage people to be a part of this if they want to at any point. It is definitely never a closed situation. [T]he environment can use everybody’s help, so everybody is welcome.”

Student and Green Team member Janna Martinez agrees the Earth could use everybody’s help, and there are easy ways to get involved. She says, “I think it is important for people to understand that we only have one Earth. Even the little things you do will make a difference. If you think to yourself that doing one little thing isn’t going to change anything, you need to know that it actually will because if everybody does it on their own level, it will spread elsewhere”.

Martinez adds, “I have always been a big enforcer on recycling and reducing waste, and just doing all of the things that are good for the environment. When I heard about Green Team, I [thought], ‘This is the perfect way for me to get into interacting with the community and influencing how stuff is done at Erie.’”

She is happy with what the school has been doing so far to make more ethical and progressive decisions, and is eager to spread even more knowledge with the team’s ideas for Earth Day. She explains, “The first thing we are doing is putting chalk on the sidewalk, Ms. Mitchell bought a bunch of chalk for Green Team members to go out and draw, and we are also thinking about having students go out and also draw chalk art during their lunch breaks. Our other idea is putting up posters with fun facts and colorful ideas around the school that have QR codes leading ideas to reduce waste or reasonable things to buy.”

Martinez concludes, “If people are able to become more aware of what they can buy and how that affects the environment, I think that is a really good thing. It can be as easy as looking things up online: looking for things like what your recycling center will recycle, or things that you can stay away from that are more environmentally damaging.”

From extending your lifelong knowledge about the Earth in your classes to taking advantage of the recycling bins at lunch, there is always something that can be done to make the world a better place, no matter how small those acts are. The Green Team hopes to expand this concept to the rest of the school, and overall work to cultivate a more conscious mindset.