Every Day is Earth Day in the Environmental Club
Every day should be Earth Day—a day to celebrate the globe we call home and bring attention to what we can do to keep it healthy. While some are trying to preserve the planet for future generations, it’s the future generations who are making a big impact.
As members of a global community, the preservation of the environment and endangered species is of utmost importance to many Laurel Springs students. So much so that Laurel Springs is proud to have been the recipient of the United Nations Global Environmental 500 Award. Full-time students in grades 7-12 who love nature, the Earth, and seek to find a closer connection to the planet are encouraged to join the Environmental Club. Members explore environmental literacy and ways of reducing our carbon footprint, both individually and as a community. Every year the club hosts a week-long Reduce Your Use school-wide activity and the Eco-Footprint Friday event in celebration of Earth Day.
As the day quickly approaches, we caught up with some Environmental Club members for their thoughts on the club, nature, and their plans for the future.
Meet the Members
As an online school, Laurel Springs students are part of a global community, reaching across the United States and around the world. One of the wonderful things about clubs is that they bring students closer together, bonded by a common interest. For members of the Environmental Club, this connection is strengthened through a love of nature.
Greta Schneider, Senior at Laurel Springs School
President of the Environmental Club
“I decided to join the club after leaving my old school in which I also [was a leader] in their Environmental Club (called Green Coalition).” Greta’s passion for the planet, and its many creatures, reaches far beyond the club:
“My love for the environment stems from my love of animals, as wildlife has always been a special interest to me, the ecosystems in which these species live are crucial for their survival...I am a regular volunteer at wildlife rehabilitation centers, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics. It is my dream to become a wildlife or zoologic veterinarian, possibly with a specialty in herpetology (reptiles). In my spare time I rescue injured invasive veiled chameleons from the Everglades with my boyfriend. We recently just had a clutch (a single laying of eggs) hatch!”
Living in Key West gives Greta access to a wide range of wildlife, from chickens and pelicans to sea turtles and chameleons. But her interest in the environment was sparked in a different area. “Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay was also an eye-opening experience. Living in Maryland, I was educated about the significance of the watershed and how unique of an ecosystem it is, as well as how polluted it has become since the Industrial Revolution. All of these factors have motivated me to become an environmentalist and animal rights activist.”
Being an activist also means supporting others with the same vision. “My favorite club activities are definitely the discussion aspect of our meetings. I love hearing members voice their opinions, experiences, and recommendations, as I feel I have learned so much from them. So many of my fellow club members have personal connections to environmental activism, I love hearing their stories about their travels and projects.”
Reva Siu-Masset, Laurel Springs Senior
Reva joined the Environmental Club two years ago because, “I thought it was relevant since I want to go into the environmental field for my career, but I also wanted to learn more about environmental issues and meet other people with similar interests to discuss it with them.” And discuss it, they do. “The topic slides are a lot of fun since we get to dive deep into some issues or environmental concepts, but I particularly like the discussions we have after our presentations. It’s a great way to get different perspectives on issues or share more information, and it’s all done in a very respectful way.”
Madeline Sumpter, LSS Sophomore
Madeline also enjoys discussing the slides about various environmental issues. “Taking care of and protecting our Mother Earth is especially prevalent in today's ever growing industrialized world, and sharing that concern with like-minded students has been very educational and influential.” Madeline also enjoys getting out into nature to hike, bike, and rock climb, but she participates in these activities with the current crisis on her conscience:
“I have grown up in rural Tennessee and I have been raised to respect and cherish nature. A common phrase in my family and community is, ‘Take only pictures, leave only footsteps.’ There are a number of natural preserves, waterfalls, and trails near my house which I grew up exploring, and a lot of harmful events and mentalities held towards the environment and protecting it created by politicians break my heart.”
Madeline not only calls on the government to make a change, but educators, her peers, and her neighbors as well. “I believe that the more education provided to children in schools will help grow the concern for the environment, thus prompting more positive widespread environmental change. Especially in the south, people don't have recycling services or places to charge electric cars. I think that when things like that are more widespread, people will be more motivated to partake in environmentally friendly things because it will take less time on their part, but the only way that those will be able to happen is if people are educated.”
Regina Jiang, Grade 8
Regina has been a member of the Environmental Club for a few months “and it’s been a wonderful pleasure! I’ve always been extremely passionate about the environment, so I couldn’t resist the temptation to sign up! It’s a truly wonderful club and it’s taught me a lot about carbon footprint, environmental awareness, and pollution, etc.”
As for her favorite part of the club, Regina is up for any Monthly Challenge. “They challenge us to do something environmental...for December, it was wrapping a gift without using plastic, and another month it was donating the clothes that you don’t need instead of hoarding them. I also enjoy the Discussion Time, where they ask us questions and we can all have our unique input in the matter.”
For the Love of Nature
Of course, being a part of the Environmental Club, these members have strong feelings about nature:
“Nature is so complex and diverse and expansive.” says Greta. “I suppose that is what I love about it, the ornate biological and environmental systems that all work together to create unique, complex, and diverse ecosystems. Biology is my favorite class and by learning about everything on a molecular level, I have come to realize how incredible life truly is. Nature in its untouched form is such a powerful thing, supporting life and the planet through delicate balances.”
“Nature is so rich…” says Reva. “...in terms of evolutionary history, yes, but also in the amount of ecological services it provides the planet and how deeply-entwined it is with human cultures. The majority of Earth’s history and ability to support life comes from nature just kind of doing it’s own thing, and I think that’s neat.”
“I love all things about nature, save the insects…” Regina says. “I especially love trees, flowers, and anything green!”
So, what can be done to help preserve the environment?
“So much more, that’s for sure!” Reva says. “I really think that the key to preserving the environment is by collaborating—not just individuals, but also corporations and especially governments around the world as well as right here at home.”
“I think a lot of things can be done to save the environment and reduce pollution,” Regina says. “If we all stopped littering, and manufacturing plastics, and also recycled, we could help reduce pollution. If we could stop cutting down trees, and stop spreading wildfires, then we could save a lot of forests. The only problem is, not everybody in this world does that and that’s what’s making this project so difficult!”
“So much can be done to help preserve the environment!” says Greta. She believes it all starts with small actions that anyone can do, such as:
- turning out the lights
- drinking water from the tap
- supporting organic farming
- and recycling
“Of course, some major changes need to occur in order to save our plant, such as reducing carbon footprints by using renewable energy and dismissing fossil fuels and using methods to reduce the pollutants in the atmosphere, such as planting more trees, kelp farming, etc.”
Greta also believes it’s going to take more than small actions to make enough of a difference. There needs to be “an extreme shift in perspective of major companies or political/influential figures.” More specifically, she calls on all companies to be more conscious about their use of materials, including:
- compostable packaging
- off-setting emissions using renewable energy
- use organic and sustainable methods of production
- start to reuse and recycle materials
- use plant-based materials
- create more efficient and safe methods of waste disposal
- and generally promote environmental protection for all of their customers/clients.
Celebrating the Earth
This year’s Earth Day theme is Restore Our Earth. There’s a focus on climate change and ways we can do our part to make a difference. Members of the Environmental Club have their own ideas about how to get involved:
GS: Earth Day this year will be a school-wide challenge, prompted by the Environmental Club, to reduce waste. I am already so excited and cannot wait to see everyone participating.
RSM: Because of the pandemic, there will likely be no public protests for environmental issues on Earth Day this year. However, my family does plan on continuing the tradition of turning off the lights for the day.
RJ: Normally I would pick up stray litter around the neighborhood, but since we’ve moved recently to a not-so-clean neighborhood and the risk of coronavirus is still around, I’ve decided to preserve my health first.
MS: To celebrate Earth Day, the Environmental Club is launching a week-long zero-waste initiative. We will spread resources as to how to do so school-wide, and we invite all students and faculty to join in.
The week-long event culminates on Friday, April 23rd—deemed Eco Footprint Friday—when students are encouraged to discuss the current environmental issues, how our ecological footprint is measured, what we can do to make a positive change, and predictions for the future of our planet.
What Can You Do?
If you’re looking for more Earth Day inspiration, simply go outside and enjoy the environment around you. After the gratefulness of all the natural greatness sinks in, check out this list for more tips.
If you’re looking for an outlet for your own passions, Laurel Springs has a wide variety of clubs to choose from. All full-time students from grades K-12 are encouraged to join a group that helps spark their imagination and motivation to connect with others in our global community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about what clubs are currently available.
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