John Glenn: Helping or hurting our Earth?

Isabella Riopelle '21, Copy Editor

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The Earth is dying, the sea levels are rising, the climate is changing, and our school still uses hundreds of nonbiodegradable styrofoam trays at lunchtime. There are many ways that our school could help our planet thrive, and the Environmental Club is working on making those the ways of John Glenn.

“The Environmental Club wants to replant the courtyard or cleanup the greenhouse and take care of it better,” Junior and member of the Environmental Club, Emma Elinksi said.

According to NASA, the carbon dioxide levels in the air are the highest they have been in 650,000 years, the sea level has risen almost seven inches in the past 100 years, and global temperature has increased by 1.9 degrees since 1880. These may not seem like a big deal, but if our planet continues on this track, the effects will be irreversible in only 20 years (National Resources Defense Council).

“It’s not about the environment right now, it’s about the environment when you’re gone,” Elinski said. “You have to look after it now before it gets to your kids.”

According to Ms. Glassmeyer, a cafeteria employee, John Glenn serves about 875 lunches per day and 280 breakfasts, meaning about 1,155 styrofoam trays are used every day. Per week, that’s approximately 5,775. For the whole month of January, which only contained 16 school days where lunch was served and 19 days where breakfast was served, about 19,320 styrofoam lunch trays were used. Keep in mind that styrofoam is not biodegradable, meaning it does not decompose.

Members of the Environmental Club are looking to change the amount of styrofoam lunch trays that John Glenn uses.

“We use a lot of styrofoam,” Elinski said, “and we wanted to find an alternative, like washing trays.” Co-founder of the Environmental Club and Junior Erin Knape agreed. She said that she wants to help get rid of styrofoam at John Glenn.

Another one of the Environmental Club’s goals is to start recycling again, especially cans and bottles.

“We want to fix the recycling problem. We contacted a few government officials about it, but there’s not much progress,” Knape said.

Aluminum cans, for example, are not recycled at John Glenn, and they can take up to 80-200 years before they decompose completely. Think about how many Kickstart cans are being tossed into the garbage on a daily basis. Those could all be recycled and saved from their up to 200-year decomposition fate in a landfill.

The Environmental Club is working to help save the planet, but they cannot do it alone.

“There isn’t a second planet. This is the only one we have,”  Zander said. “Please take care of it.”