The most significant change often happens when great numbers of people work together toward a common end. Environmental conservation has been an increasingly common topic of discussion in the media, in politics, and even at the dinner table in the past decade, because it is an issue that today has, and in the future will have, a lasting and noticeable impact on all of our lives. I wanted to share some rather staggering statistics calculated from the Container Recycling Institute. It is estimated that Blair uses an excess of 21,000 disposable plastic bottles per 8 month school year.
Another number I came across, during my discussions with the kitchen staff, is 5,000. That’s how many disposable plastic bottles are often used at large events like graduation. Both these numbers are shocking; I’d bet that very few of you would have guessed that our community uses this many bottles on such a regular basis. Sports games. Barbeques. Saturday activities. In the dorms. This waste of disposable plastic water bottles is a pervasive issue at Blair.
There is a solution, however, and it relies on all of us. Together we must decide that it is important to put an end to the use of disposable plastic water bottles, and work together to ensure it. No, it is not enough to say that we recycle, for the fact remains that many water bottles do not end up recycled. What’s more, it takes energy and natural resources to melt the plastic and recycle those bottles that are. This is something that together we can work to prevent.
The well known phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” puts the reduction in the use of natural resources as the first step toward environmental conservation. Let’s work together to reduce, and ultimately end, the use of disposable plastic water bottles at Blair.
I call on all of you to take this step, to give the gift of a future where we do not waste, to Blair and those students who, long after you have graduated, will sit where you are now. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors: give that gift, take that step, and help our community move in the right direction.
Mr. Fortunato and others have expressed support for our endeavor, and, though by no means a simple task, I believe wholeheartedly that together we can accomplish it. Join me this Wednesday in Cowan for an open forum, a brainstorming and planning session, on the topic of eliminating the use of these bottles. Come to listen, come to speak, come to share your perspective and ideas, or come to take action, big or small. We may not change the world in a day, but we can start.
(Copyright 2016 Tys Sweeney)