high schools

The Bronx High School of Science’s LEAP Club Strives to Reduce our Negative Environmental Impact on the World

By Richard Yue

 

Reused Cartons

Reused Cartons

Students in the League of Environmental and Animal Protection (LEAP) club at the Bronx High School of Science are working on raising awareness about the school’s recycling program, educating  students about the importance of conservation, promoting the use of less energy and making the school a more environmentally friendly place. These efforts will not only benefit the school by saving money and resources, but will also benefit the environment.

The LEAP club has worked on implementing a recycling program throughout the school. Each classroom was provided with a special bin for paper recycling. The organization, GrowNYC, has been instrumental in helping the school in setting up the recycling program and donating the recycling bins. In addition to promoting recycling in the classrooms, three recycling stations have also been placed in the school’s cafeteria. Each of these stations includes a bin for plastic bottles and milk cartons, a bucket where any remaining liquid from the containers can be emptied, a desk where lunch trays can be stacked, and a bin for any remaining garbage. The club is also reusing old trash to make something useful – and fun! Students bring in old paper and use it in paper making activities. They also use old juice cartons and turn them into wallets.

 

Earth Day

Earth Day

Currently the club is trying to raise awareness about the implemented recycling system and to encourage students to cooperate.

In order to further raise awareness about environmental issues, LEAP organizes an annual Earth Day celebration in the school. The event does not take place exactly on Earth Day, April 22. Instead, it is usually scheduled in early June when the weather is warmer and the festivities can take place outside in the courtyard. The Earth Day celebration includes a number of activities: paper making, selling of plants, selling articles made from recycled and reused materials (i.e., wallets made from old juice cartons), educational games, and speakers to talk about environmental issues. Proceeds from the Earth Day celebration are donated by LEAP to an environmental organization chosen by the club’s members. Every year, there is a big turnout for the Earth Day celebration, which is something the LEAP club is proud of in helping to make a positive impact on the environment.

About the Author: Richard Yue is an Environmental Engineer in the Region’s Clean Air and Sustainability Division. Mr. Yue has been with the EPA for over 22 years and is a graduate of Polytechnic University of New York. 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Changing Climate Change

Growing up, I used to spend my winters in Chicago sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels, and having snowball fights in the park near my house. A fresh coat of snow meant that my neighbors and I would all come out to play, bundled up with hats, gloves, and bulky coats, leaving lopsided trails of footprints behind us as we explored what might be adequately described as a “winter wonderland”.

As a summer intern for the EPA, I still maintain a passion for snow forts and snowball fights, and I have developed a greater appreciation for activities such as skiing and ice skating (which had never been much of an interest to my younger self due to an extraordinary lack of coordination). Unfortunately, as I’ve grown up, I’ve had less time to enjoy these recreational activities, not just because my schedule has gotten busier, but because snow doesn’t fall as often as it did 15 years ago. Ice cover isn’t as thick, and even when a snowfall does occur, the snow just doesn’t last as long. With only a few short weeks for winter break, I’m disappointed when my chances to enjoy the snow are limited.

Winters are getting warmer due to the earth’s changing climate. Temperatures are increasing, and precipitation will get more inconsistent—either too much or too little. Ice on lakes will be thinner, making them unsafe to use for things like skating and ice fishing. Humans have to take some of the blame for this phenomenon. Pollution from factories, cars, and homes traps heat inside the atmosphere, which leads to climate change. There are plenty of things that people, and especially teens, can do to address climate change. The Marian Koshland Science Museum, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) offer ways for teens to get involved in combating climate change. NWF even has a downloadable action guide with project ideas.

I enjoy warm weather as much as the next person-my summer days are full of soccer, Frisbee, and swimming. However, I will still do what I can and encourage others to combat climate change. Fortunately, this is not a problem that can only be addressed by business and government. Anybody, at any age, can contribute. It is my personal belief that everybody should do their part to slow climate change. The problem requires immediate action, and as today’s teens graduate, go to college, and enter the “real world”, we will be a very important part of the solution. We owe it ourselves, to the world, and to the thousands of children that enjoy frolicking in freshly fallen snow.

About the Author: Carmel Loch is an intern for the Air and Radiation Division working on Climate Change. She will be a junior at the University of Chicago.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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