"Yeah I want to clean up the environment, but what can I do? One person can't make a difference."
It is hard for one person to make a change, but when all of us "one persons" get together we can make a notable impact on our society.
First, start by getting all the "one persons" together in your school. Better yet, get all those people together and start your school's very own Environmental Club! That's what we did at Auburn High School. Our club started because kids wanted to clean up our earth. They realized the impetus has to begin with cleaning up the environment closest to you.
One program we started was a clean-up of our school's outdoor campus. We were disgusted with the amount of pollution we found scattered around our school. So we decided to do something about it and make our efforts noticeable to the rest of the student body. We arranged to pick up trash during lunch and after school. At both times the outdoor campus is used and visible to the school population. We put the trash on display so the whole school could enjoy the garbage collage they created.
To earn money we held a canvas bag sale. We were hoping that people would replace their paper lunch bags with our economically and environmentally sound bags. We bought bulk canvas and sewed the bags ourselves. This enabled us to sell the bags for only four dollars. Not only were the bags cheaper than their store bought cousins, but the club was able to make a three dollar profit from each bag, which added up when we sold over 60 bags in only three days.
Another project we started was recycling old Christmas trees. We advertised this new program at local Christmas tree outlets. After Christmas we also asked our neighbors if we could replant their still-living trees. We intend to plant these otherwise wasted trees in local parks and behind our school.
In the months to come we have a number of projects planned. We hope to re-establish our paper recycling program which was postponed due to limited storage space. We have planned another outdoor campus clean-up this spring. We will also make reusable laminated hall passes to replace the wasteful paper ones.
So now that you have some ideas for your school's environmental club, get started. Let's show the world what a difference kids can make.
Please write and tell us what programs your Environmental Club has found successful, or write if you have any questions about starting a club. Please write to us at: Auburn High School c/o Environmental Club, Lake Avenue Extension, Auburn, NY 13201 ^
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.