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We Speak for The Trees

Colette Combs, News Editor

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Climate Change is an unavoidable topic in today’s news and media. Much of the national conversation on the topic is grim, making reading anything about the topic at times difficult. However, Pingree’s Green Team has risen to the challenge of reducing our footprint rather than running from it. Green Team is one of Pingree’s most vocal and highly attended clubs, and is now so popular that it has become a school wide movement more than an isolated club. It works with clubs like Pingree Community Garden and Bee Keeping to get the community involved in green initiatives. Green Team has historically planned many activities for Earth week to engage the Pingree community in combating climate change, and this year was no different. The theme of the week this year was plastic waste reduction. Senior Anna Landgren ‘18 is a founder of Green Team and has since become a leader and spokesperson for the club, often making appearances at morning meetings or sending out school wide emails. Landgren was heavily involved in the planning process for this year’s Earth week agenda. When asked about her involvement in the club, Landgren commented that, “When I was a freshman, there wasn’t even a recycling program at Pingree, so a few other students and I met with faculty and Dr. Johnson.” Langren also spoke to the importance of Green Team and combating climate change, saying “Things at Pingree have gotten much better, but there is still more to do. People still throw away recyclable and compostable material; that is definitely something that still needs to be worked on.”

This year’s Earth Week was packed with activities and education. For the entire week, paper coffee cups were taken out of the Commons to encourage students to use reusable drinking receptacles. On Tuesday, April 16th, the week started with make your own trail mix snack and club activities at breaks, like a letter writing campaign put on by Write to Your Rep to ask local Mayors to support legislation against the use of plastic grocery bags. At morning meeting, percussion ensemble gave a performance using recycled percussion (plastic buckets) to create a “remix” of “God’s Plan” by Drake. To start day two of Earth Week on Wednesday, Leonardo Dicaprio’s documentary “Before the Flood” was showed at morning meeting. When asked why Dicaprio’s documentary was chosen to show to the community, Landgren said “I saw the impact this film could have and knew it would spark realization that people have an impact and can make a difference. It is very shocking and catches people’s attention, and really shows that there’s no denying climate change.” Also on Wednesday, advisory groups were encouraged to engage in “green activities” as a group, like going on a walk or collecting garbage around campus. On Thursday, the rest of “Before the Flood” was shown during the assembly block. At breaks, Green Team had a booth in the Commons with design-your-own stickers and Pingree water bottles/ mugs for sale. Earth Week concluded on Friday with an Earth Day Kahoot! and a performance from Student Body President Will Varsano ‘18. Varsano ‘18 played the piano and sang an original song he wrote about environmentalism. At breaks, Green Team hosted a debriefing session to discuss “Before the Flood.” Leaders of Green Team also dressed up as famous environmentalists for the day and encouraged students to guess who they were dressed up as.  

Facts about plastic (the topic of the week) were shared daily by Mrs. McAlpin, along with a schedule of the green activities happening on campus that day. Some of the facts included that 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, that nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists, and that at least 1,000,000 sea creatures die from plastic pollution every year.

While Pingree has recently won awards for sustainable practices, there is always more that Pingree as a school and individuals at Pingree can do to reduce ecological footprints and help combat climate change. As eloquently stated by Landgren, “We need to keep conversation going and keep trying to improve. It’s not just for you- it’s for everyone around you: your grandkids and everyone else to come.” There is always more to be done to make our planet greener, and Green Team has used Earth Week as an effective reminder of that fact to the Pingree community.  

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We Speak for The Trees