Environmental student group taking action for change

With hurricanes, typhoons, floods, melting icebergs, dying polar bears, heat strokes, ocean dead zones, species extinction, air-water pollution, deforestation, world hunger, global warming, ozone layer depletion, acid rains … it seems that nothing is being done other than sending prayers for magical hands to appear and hope for it all to stop. But senior Maya Gabriele and the approximately 20 members of the newly formed Environmental Awareness Team (E.A.T.) are advocating for mother nature by taking those prayers, and turning them into action. 

“I took AP Environmental Science my junior year, and to be honest, I hated it at first; but then as I started studying hard core for the AP exam, everything kind of clicked. I became very passionate about the environment through that class, learning about all these things that humans are doing without even realizing how bad it is for the environment and how much stuff we take for granted, but it’s hurting the earth so much,” Gabriele said. 

Having learned about billions upon billions of plastic waste choking up water bodies and causing serious harm to marine animals, Gabriele wanted to do something that wouldn’t take up too much space in her daily life, but help make big differences by making small changes. 

“In addition to many lists of projects we have, my main purpose was to gather a group of individuals and most importantly educate you guys so that you can educate other people and spread the knowledge, awareness,” she said. 

In her spare time outside of saving the planet, Gabriele travels a lot, which helps her see how different changes regarding nature are made in different places. After collecting ideas and returning back to Cedar Falls, she used those inspirations to make changes locally. 

“When I went to California, the difference between here and there in terms of environmental consciousness is fascinating but sad at the same time. When you go there, you’ll see recycling bins and all sorts of sustainable food consumption production at restaurants. Unfortunately, you see none of that in Iowa. That’s why it made me want to do something,” Gabriele said. 

E.A.T. is only meeting for the fourth time since the school year has started, but the group members already have their action plans mapped out and are getting ready to present their projects to their fellow school members. 

E.A.T. member senior Allie Eagen said, “We split into different groups within the club so that we can have more things to work on, my group is working on transforming busses into vans to and from the junior highs to the high school. There aren’t as many students to require busses every single period. That is just a waste of many things, and it raises our carbon footprint.”

E.A.T club members are also working on many other projects from composting in the lunchroom to fundraisers. 

Gabriele said “When we brought up this idea to the administrators, we said we wanted to start a ‘green movement’ in our school. We don’t even have enough recycling bins around the school let alone the classrooms. There is so much more that we can do. Small things make a huge difference; for instance, so much plastic, cardboards and leftovers go down the trash so quickly when all we need is two extra minutes to sort out, recycle and compost those products.”

Gabriel said that education is key, and every single individual can make a change when there is awareness, and she said teachers should also be aware of the situation and encourage their students to take action toward saving the environment. 

“I’ve heard custodians talking about it in the parking lot just the other day. I’ve realized there is just a lot of littering, and people should be educated. They should be taught how to take care of the planet they’re living on. It isn’t hard; taking a five minute shower, making sure you turn the tap all the way off, eat less animal products. Students need to be taught and educated,” she said.

Eagen said raising awareness is like a tree. If the high school makes differences in the school, that’s going to radiate and make differences in the community as well.

Hi-Line Online


Check out this week’s episode for another feature of on the efforts of the Environmental Awareness Team.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.