Earth day sparks concern about sustainability

Lack of eco-friendly practices hurts planet

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Cece Jensen

With Earth Day coming around the corner, sustainability at Park needs to be taken more seriously. The school as a whole does not participate in many sustainable or earth-friendly practices. Paper is constantly being wasted and garbage is not separated into trash, organics and recycling.

Most assignments that are given to the students at Park are online or through Schoology. This raises the question, why haven’t we gone paperless? In one school day alone, the average student receives countless pieces of paper. With upwards of 1,000 students at the High School, this paper waste adds up quite quickly and can be very damaging to the environment. These assignments could easily be given online to avoid using the paper in the first place. Going completely paperless would be a huge step toward sustainability at Park and does not have any serious downsides.

In the cafeteria, there used to be separate waste receptacles for trash, recycling and organics. Recently, they have all been consolidated into one big garbage. The school is no longer even trying to recycle or compost the waste from the lunchroom. Separating the garbage from lunch is such an easy fix and it is so much better for the environment than simply throwing everything away. Since we had this system before, there is a very simple solution of just bringing back the separate garbage bins. In the cafeteria, there is also the problem of lunch trays. They are made from hard plastic, and will one day end up polluting the earth in a landfill. On top of that, these trays must be washed every day, which uses an obscene amount of water. An easy fix for this problem would be to use compostable cardboard trays. These trays work just as well as plastic trays and they are far more eco-friendly. 

Some sustainable things that Park has are the water fountains. Most of them include the feature that fills water bottles. This promotes the use of reusable water bottles and it lessens the number of plastic bottles necessary throughout the school. Each fountain even shows the amount of plastic waste that it has helped eliminate with the refill feature. Another eco-friendly system that our school provides is transportation. Many students take the bus to and from school every day, which significantly reduces the amount of carbon emissions we would have if everyone drove separately. Some students even bike to school in the warmer months, which is even more sustainable. It is important that practices like these are continuous, as they contribute to a more eco-friendly and conscious environment. 

Overall, Park could do better with sustainability. There are many quick and easy fixes to the problems that we currently see, that would only provide lasting environmental benefits.