Across Brevard Public Schools campuses, recycling bins are situated in the lunchrooms and classrooms to collect paper, plastics and other recyclable materials. The same holds true for our campus. However, the recycling bins and trash bins are actually interchangeable because trash goes into both; the school no longer has its recycled materials — with the exception of cardboard — picked up.
In the past, recycling on campus has been made possible by SP Recycling, an environmental and recycling industry center that delivered roll-off trash bins to the school. Even though West Shore recycled approximately eight tons of paper yearly, the company decided the bin was no longer profitable enough to maintain. This lack of initiative from SP Recycling exhibits an attitude too often shown when faced with the growing problem of global warming. Because everything nowadays is focused on maximizing profits, the company and many other places seem to have forgotten just how critical fighting climate change is, and by taking away the ability for a school to recycle, those in position of authority are teaching students that focusing on climate change is simply not important enough.
Millions of tons of discarded plastic that could instead be recycled end up in our oceans, specifically in areas surrounding the Northern Pacific Ocean in what is now known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” In fact, the problem of this trash in our oceans is so bad that a study by the World Economic Forum expects that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
As a society, it is our undeniable duty to take care of the planet, and although we have seen record temperatures along with other environmental crises in the past few decades, not enough has been done to combat the critical issue of climate change by governments on the local, national and even global levels. With such little progress being done to address the critical state the environment is in, teenagers from all around the U.S. have decided to take matters into their own hands. Our Children’s Trust, an organization which aims to secure the legal right to a stable climate for present and future generations, has partnered with 21 teenage plaintiffs in suing the U.S. government, President Obama and the fossil fuel industry. The basis of their lawsuit is that the United States is violating their constitutional rights. Although their case was originally dismissed by U.S. magistrate judge Thomas Coffin, on Nov. 10, U.S. district judge Ann Aiken issued an opinion and order that declined the motion made by the defense to dismiss the case once more.
The actions of these young people are truly inspiring and should encourage people everywhere to take a stand and protect the planet that we live on, even if it is just by finding a way to recycle at school.