by BEN RICHARDSON
WESTFIELD, Ind. (May 2019) - Environmental Club has a big goal: save the planet, one used marker at a time.
Imagine, for a moment, the amount of paper, plastic and wasted food generated each week by some 2,400 students, teachers and staff at WHS. Unfortunately, the majority of that waste finds a permanent home at the local Noblesville landfill. One can only imagine that those landfills are about as jam-packed as the parking lots before the bell rings at 7:58 a.m.
WHS, however, has recently witnessed an uptick of engaging projects focused on going green. Environmental Club took major initiative by creating a convenient and accessible way to recycle used Expo, permanent and colored markers.
“Our marker collection is through Crayola, and [scientists] are finding more and more that plastics are a huge issue environmentally in waterways worldwide,” Environmental Club sponsor Dr. Sherman said.
Members collect the boxes of used markers located in classrooms every other week then ship it all back to Crayola, free of charge. Once there, Crayola gives 100 percent of the markers to a facility that transforms them into clean-burning fuel.
“By getting those markers back to Crayola, they can do something with the plastic and prevent it from going to landfills,” Dr. Sherman said. “It’s all getting into our diet, because we’re finding that our food sources have plastic in them. So we’re all eating plastic, and it helps reduce that.”
In addition to providing effortless opportunities to recycle directly in the classroom, the Environmental Club has a unique distinguishing factor: if you breathe oxygen and live on the third planet from the Sun, you fall in the target demographic. Though that may not apply to all, everyone can join their green mission outside the club sponsored events and meetings to make a difference. They partnered with Youth Climate Accord to sponsor Westfield City Cleanup on May 11, the first of more to come.
“Next year, I want our club to do weekly cleanups at local sites, such as parks and trails,” Environmental Club member Josh Fassnacht (11) said. “The cleanup is definitely going to be in surrounding areas, but I want to implement that idea more in the school, too, such as recycling in the cafeterias. That hasn’t happened [this year], but we’re working on it.”
In regards to the most effective form of activism, Dr. Sherman had a straightforward answer.
“Industry has a much bigger impact than an individual, and so if we don’t have any regulations of those industries, then the problem becomes bigger than you and I can make up for in our personal choices,” Dr. Sherman said. “Make legislation happen, and look at what candidates are green, and that isn’t a party issue.”
Students at or nearing 18 years of age have a secret weapon in 2020: their vote. However paramount widespread legislation may be, each individual droplet in the sea still has a purpose. As Gandhi once told his followers before his famous Salt March,
“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it’s most important that you do it.”
Dr. Sherman holds meetings on alternate Thursdays in Mr. Bousman’s Room (2306), so don’t forget to check announcements and sign up for Plustime. WHS Environmental Club has quite a promising future, and all are welcome to join the club in taking action this summer to advocate for the defining issue of our generation: Environmental security in the wake of manmade climate change.