How Green Team is helping OHS celebrate Earth Day all week

This+year%2C+the+theme+for+Earth+Day+is+%E2%80%9CInvest+In+Our+Planet%2C%E2%80%9D+which+aims+to+highlight+the+crucial+role+of+businesses+and+government+in+protecting+and+preserving+the+environment.+

This year, the theme for Earth Day is “Invest In Our Planet,” which aims to highlight the crucial role of businesses and government in protecting and preserving the environment.

Claire Heyne, Writer

This year, Earth Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 22. Since first being celebrated in 1970 as a way to promote awareness of environmental issues, Earth Day has become an internationally-celebrated holiday that is recognized in over 190 countries. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is Invest In Our Planet, which emphasizes the crucial role of sustainable business practices, government incentives and the switch to green energy in both protecting the future of the environment and creating sustainable opportunities in a “green economy.” 

Green Team, a club at OHS that focuses on bettering and protecting the environment within OHS and in the community, has worked hard to plan a week-long celebration to celebrate Earth Day and promote practices that are healthy for the environment. In the past Green Team has worked on finding better ways to recycle various items in the school and is now working on implementing a composting system at the new OHS.

This is the first celebration of Green Week at OHS. This week-long celebration will be celebrated from Monday, April 18 to Friday, April 22, which is Earth Day. Green Team member and junior Hailey Kjersten said, “We’re hoping to have everyone gain more awareness about how important being green is through these activities and just make everyone more involved.” Green Team President and senior Dakota Kath agrees with Kjersten’s hope to spread awareness, and says he would also like to see more environmentally-conscious changes in the lives of individuals. Green Team is looking to use this week to their advantage as Earth Day approaches. 

Green Week will include dress-up days as well as park clean-ups, trivia, a screening of The Lorax and a student-run thrift store on Friday during third hour. OHS science teacher and Green Team adviser Ms. Sara Baranczyk said, “We’re also going to be teaching elementary students about different ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.” Green Team hopes that Green Week will motivate students to further educate themselves on environmental issues and become more involved in personal and community efforts. 

Although Green Week is an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about environmental efforts, these efforts are necessary every day from both businesses and individuals. Kjersten said, “Becoming involved in our cleanups is a good way to help. And then in your own life, making yourself more aware about proper recycling habits and investing in products that are environmentally aware would be a really good thing too.” It can often be difficult to implement environmentally-friendly practices consistently, especially when it comes to buying products. This year’s theme for Earth Day highlights the importance of businesses in a shift towards a greener economy that is more accessible for consumers. The government also can play a vital role through legislation and incentivizing greener decisions for businesses. Kath said, “Advocating for eco-friendly policies and legislation, and then also, of course, just not littering, and the basic, small world things and avoiding buying things you don’t need, focusing on reducing and reusing more than recycling is also very important.” An ideal outcome in supporting environmental preservation and protection requires significant participation from individuals, businesses and the government, for each of these entities are dependent on each other in various ways. 

Becoming involved in our cleanups is a good way to help. And then in your own life, making yourself more aware about proper recycling habits and investing in products that are environmentally aware would be a really good thing too.”

— Green Team member Hailey Kjersten

The theme “Invest In Our Planet” is particularly relevant in a country where consumers have endless choice in their buying habits. Both large corporations and small businesses can be successful with freedom of choice regarding their business practices. Ms. Baranczyk said, “I think that it’s really important for not only individuals to be trying to be green, but also supporting businesses who do greener practices and are either trying to be carbon neutral or those kinds of things…I think it’s important to support those kinds of businesses, especially if they are local businesses as well that are doing that.” Businesses have myriad opportunities to make their practices more environmentally-friendly. Some examples include the usage of sustainable packaging and implementing green energy like solar power. 

Green Team has been promoting Green Week and its events through social media posts. (Green Team)

Like many other holidays, Earth Day aims to capture public attention and awareness surrounding its issue and implications, but it is necessary to face environmental concerns year-round. Environmental issues are complex, but there are endless ways to contribute as an individual, whether it’s through physical activities like clean-ups or plantings or through activism and donations. Although the theme this year calls more powerful groups like businesses and the government to action, the role of individual citizens in making efforts, even if small, will remain crucial. For more information on how to become involved in environmental efforts, visit Earth Day’s official website, talk to Ms. Baranczyk in room G-412 or contact Dakota Kath at [email protected]