Students should plant a seed for change

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Maddy Sall

How can high school students approach environmental activism? This is probably not a question that most of us have the time or the desire to consider. Many of us have seen Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, but personally, his foray into oversized charts and his personal history still leave me confused.

As a member of the younger generation, we should not be satisfied with watching a movie; we need to make environmental activism a working practice.

I do not mean to suggest that we have to make drastic changes immediately. For example, I believe I can safely say that most high school students do not have the money needed to buy their own hybrid car or install solar panels on their house.

So what kinds of environmental actions are feasible for the average Joe Schmoe NSHS student?

Here, small acts of environmentalism are key. Try your best to incorporate environmentally positive actions into your daily life.

Here are a few of my ideas: Pack your own lunch because then you can control what you’re eating. Instead of buying the chicken patty just so you can eat the fries, just pack what you’re actually willing to eat.

It’s even better if you decide to use a reusable lunch box instead of the wasteful, if iconic, brown paper bag.

Carpool. Picking up a friend on the way to school means that he or she will not have to take a separate car, which also means that there will be less automobile congestion on Brandeis Road, not to mention you will have a more social car ride.

Put hot drinks in a thermos. As a frequent customer of Starbucks, I understand the allure of coming into school holding the legendary mermaid-emblazoned cup, but after you’re done with your drink, the cup sits in the trash and, in the case of the plastic lid, does not biodegrade for at least 50 years.

Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and other coffee shops will fill your mug or thermos if you bring it to them, and in some cases, offer you a discount for doing so. This is a great alternative to paying the extra 25 cents for an additional Styrofoam  cup at Dunkin’ Donuts to keep your hands from freezing. Not to mention that an insulated thermos does a much better job of keeping your drink hot than a flimsy paper cup.

These are just three easy ideas to begin making environmental activism a part of your life. I implore us all to assess our own behaviors, and to see how changing those behaviors could potentially have a positive impact on the environment. So much of the fate of our earth is in our generation’s hands.

So many of the things that have damaging effects on our environment are things that we can cut back on or put a stop to entirely. Most importantly, we should ask ourselves this question: What do I want this world to be like for the next generation of high-schoolers?

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