Rantoul students getting education in all things green

By: Betty Graham

By: Betty Graham

By: Betty Graham

RANTOUL – "Going green" has become a hot topic, a tag advertisers use more and more to attract people to their products.

But what about educating young people about it? This week, that's the goal at Rantoul Township High School. Monday marked the first day of Green Week, a schoolwide effort to raise awareness about the issues of climate change.

Educating students about environmental concerns is vital, said Mary Anne Ross, an English teacher at RTHS. "People are not going to do anything if they do not know about it."

On Monday, a PowerPoint presentation during lunch periods introduced the topic of climate change to many students.

That's one of several things going on this week. On Tuesday, students held a "recycle shootout," with winners receiving a reusable shopping bag.

All week, recycling bins have been placed in the cafeteria, meant for the plastic bottles that nearly every student buys during lunch.

"Recycling is important to me because I like to think about the future," said Tyler Fawbush, one of the week's organizers.

On Monday, the bins filled up, saving a lot of trash from just being tossed out.

On Wednesday, many teachers planned to have classrooms go lights out for the day, an effort to both conserve energy and show students that natural daylight sometimes can be sufficient for everyday teaching.

Junior Bridget Schlueter said students and staff at the school should be learning about how to preserve the planet.

"I do not think students are aware of the environment as much as they think they are or should be," she said.

On Monday, students were asked by the week's organizers to walk, ride a bike or carpool to school. On Friday, they're asked to wear green to show support for the cause.

"I think students are paying attention," Ross said. "I think they are interested because it is a real world issue."

Said Fawbush: "Everything we do can make a difference. And I want to make a difference."

Betty Graham is a student at Rantoul Township High School and one of the organizers of the school's Green Week.

Simple tips for going green

— Recycle certain trash, like aluminum and plastic.

— Unplug all electronics; they use energy even when they are not in use.

— Print on both sides of paper.

— When getting coffee or another drink, use your own mug or cup.

— Turn the temperature down in your house and grab a blanket.

— Bring your own bags when shopping to cut down on plastic or paper usage.

— Carpool whenever possible.

— Turn off the lights in a room once you leave it.

— Take quick showers.

— Only do laundry when you have a full load.

— Buy ice cream in a cone rather than a cup.

— Use a reusable lunch bag instead of paper sacks.

— Use Tupperware containers in place of plastic bags.

— Skip the drive-through; instead, park and walk inside.

— Recycle shoes through www.nikereuseashoe.com – your old sneakers could become a playground.

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