Community Dives Into Helping the Environment

Students Explore Ways to Experience up the Outdoors

While Earth Day may not be for another month, April is coming up as a month focused on a wide variety of environmental issues. There are quite a few people in EGR who have been doing environmental work recently, including the Environmental Club and certain students doing things on their own in and outside of school.

As of lately, the Environmental Club has been doing a lot of advocacy for awareness surrounding the different topics in the club, especially recycling. Despite a late start up this year, the club has made posters to hang over recycling bins with information such as what goes in and what doesn’t go into the bins. 

While a big focus has been on recycling, recently, the club has been looking to the future and is currently planning a clothing drive designed to reduce the carbon footprint related to clothing.

Sydney Muller ‘22, has been an active leader as one of the Environmental Club’s co-presidents and in her work outside of school. Environmental work is especially important to her because of her upbringing on a lake and witnessing firsthand the pollution and erosion happening and their effects. 

Muller says that one of her favorite things she got to experience with the club was having a speaker come and talk to them.

“She talked about how racial justice goes hand in hand with environmental justice, and it was really cool to listen to her speak. It’s probably one of my favorite memories,” Muller said.

Muller also had the opportunity to work with the Michigan League of Conservation. She did an internship there and was on the political outreach team. 

“One of the main things we did on that team was advocate for people who don’t have clean drinking water, which was really cool because I got to almost walk in these people’s shoes and get a feel for how bad of a situation it is. It made me more passionate about wanting to help out after seeing how direct the effects are,” she said. 

Besides Muller, students Hallea Michell ‘22, and Kelly Couvreur ‘22 have also been doing some environmental work recently. As part of their IB service cast project, they are selling trees to individuals and families in the community to replenish the amount of paper the school goes through every year. 

“Through our estimate, it’s about 160 tree’s that we had to sell this year,” Michell said.

Both Michell and Couvreur are passionate about STEM and the environment, so when the opportunity to do the project came, they were immediately invested. 

“We definitely jumped at the chance to not only help the environment but also give back to the community,” Couvreur said.

Michell and Couvreur have enjoyed the project immensely, primarily because of the third-party organization, TreePlenish, that they did it through. They were able to make posters, set up a website, and organize it, so the process of ordering a tree is easier. But their most extensive advice to others who might want to do something similar is to start with volunteering.

“Volunteering to plant the trees people buy is a huge part of the process, and we need volunteers, so I would just say that if you want to do something, you should get out in the community and see what you can do,” Michell said. 

Michigan suffers from a wide variety of environmental problems in and around the Great Lakes. From erosion to contaminated drinking water to pollution, are just some of the difficulties environmentalists in the state face.

However, the deeds done by people like Michell, Muller, Couvreur, and the Environmental Club are making a difference and helping to take the little steps forward that are needed to improve Michigan’s environment.

Muller’s advice to others wanting to help the environment is to know that what you do, no matter how small or how big, has an impact.

“It seems that when you’re trying to help the environment, there’s such a big step that has to be taken for it to seem worthy, so you feel like there’s nothing you can do,” Muller said. “But even the smallest things go a long way.”

This story was originally published in the March 31 edition of The East Vision.