Going Green: Environmental Solutions at FHS

Emma Nicholson, Writer

These days it is almost impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing a post that reads “Share this post and we will donate $1 to this organization to save the ocean,” or some variety of compelling incentive to help save our planet. As great as these messages are, it is easy to be fooled by the sugar-coating of social media. The harsh reality is that over the past few months environmental issues have come to be a main focus in our world, as growing concerns about the safety of our planet are coming to light.

In a recent article published by CNN, it was stated that the biggest issue facing our world right now is climate change. There are a variety of ways in which these changes are present in our lives; NASA’s Global Climate Change Organizations published a study stating “The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”

The carbon footprint is real, and we, as humans, are part of this phenomenon. Additionally, the article states “Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country or over time.” (via NASA Global Climate Change).

Many videos have gone viral in response to these statistics. A very popular video, titled SusainAbility has been shared millions of times over the past week:

So how can we, as FHS students, work to do our part in being environmentally aware? To start, I spoke to FHS Green Team President Maggie Doyle about her experiences.

Green Team is a club at Franklin High School dedicated to environmental awareness. Maggie has been a part of Green Team for two years, but says she wishes she had joined earlier. “Our main message is to promote sustainability throughout our high school and the Franklin community.” Green team hosts a variety of events throughout the year; this year they worked on a project to fund raise for hydroponic plant towers. “The hydroponic plant towers are a really cool modern solution to compact farming. After we fundraise enough, we can use the products of our plant towers to supply the school cafeteria with fresh lettuce, tomatoes or other vegetables!” 

When asked what the FHS students can do to help the cause, Maggie offers a few different ideas. “Clean out recyclables before putting them in the correct bin, because plastic or glass contaminated by food waste cannot be recycled. Having said that, reducing our total waste could be even more important than recycling. Try to think of how much you throw away every single school day and consider packing snacks or drinks in reusable containers not only to reduce waste, but also to save money.”

Reusable drink cups are available for purchase on Amazon for as little as $14. (Click Here to Purchase)

What is one of the most commonly thrown out items by FHS students? You guessed it, plastic coffee cups and straws. Though we all enjoy being able to bring coffee to school in the morning, it might be time to consider a reusable cup or at least a reusable/metal straw. Both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks will accept the use of reusable cups for any variety of drink! Students are recommended to take advantage of this opportunity.

Maggie also says to be on the lookout for the sale of reusable coffee cups later this year at FHS! 

Listed below are a few other steps you can take to be environmentally aware not only at school, but also at home: 

  • Use reusable water bottles and coffee cups (and reusable straws!)
  • Be conscious about what you put in the recycling bin
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Turn off the faucet when you are not using it
  • Consider going inside a restaurant instead of a Drive-Thru; this will eliminate the air pollution of your vehicle
  • Avoid purchasing plastic bottled drinks, if you must purchase consider a glass bottle alternative
  • Not using the back side of an old homework assignment? Use that side next time you need scrap paper

And finally, make efforts to be consciously aware of your own carbon footprint, and take steps to reduce it. If each one us takes smaller steps towards protecting our planet, we can make a huge difference; even bigger than simply sharing an Instagram post.