Students at Marysville Getchell High School are undertaking a number of projects to push the school and students to change their actions to protect the environments.
The Advanced Placement Environmental Science class at the school has a number of students passionate about environmentalism who are trying to enact local change.
“We’re trying to switch from plastic straws to paper straws, and maybe from plastic cups to paper cups at the student store,” said Aubrey Bennett, one of the students in the class.
Bennett said that kind of waste causes a big problem when too much of it gets into the environment.
“We have a plastic problem, not just in the school, but everywhere. If we can make a difference, even if it’s just at our school, that’s better than nothing,” she said.
Other groups are trying to bring other changes to the school.
“At our school there isn’t a composting program, and there is a recycling program but not a lot of kids know about it so a lot of trash ends up in there,” said Getchell student Julia Russell who is working to bring a composting program to the school and has produced signs to encourage proper recycling.
“It’s important to re-use the things that we can,” she said.
“I think this is important because a lot of non-recylable stuff is ending up in recycling bins,” she said.
Getchell student Jawan Smith is also working on educating his fellow students.
“What me and my small group are doing is working on an informational video that we want to distribute across the school to inform kids about plastic use, whether that be straws, cups or bottles, and showing how that’s bad for our environment,” he said.
Another group is collecting bottles from the school’s recycling and trash to measure just how much waste the school produces each day.
They plan to collect again later to see if the class initiatives had made an impact.
The Environmental Club at the school has raised about $4,000 to bring water bottle refilling stations to the school and those could be installed at the school this year, depending on other circumstances.
“With plastic water bottles we want to eliminate the single-use bottles,” said Smith. “We’d rather have people bringing their own water bottle."
Many of the students said that the biggest hurdles for the groups would be getting students to want to help and change their behavior.
“The biggest challenge is getting people to want to do it. A lot of high schoolers really don’t care. They don’t see how it will affect them,” said Smith.
“The hardest part is educating the other students because a lot of them don’t care as much as our class does and they don’t know what happens when you don’t recycle or compost,” said Russell.
Bennett said that the group is still trying to encourage improvement though.
“People don’t like change and a lot of people don’t want to change. But if we can do it, then we’re going to do it,” she said.
Students in the class said they are enjoying working on something that could make a difference in their environment.
“I just like knowing that I’m doing something good and that will last for a while,” said Smith.
“It gives me a sense of purpose because I want to do this as a career and this is just one step of doing it everywhere,” said Russell.