Are students at LHS environmentally aware?

Haley Stephenson

Staff Vote  –  Yes: 8   No: 12

In the year 2019 alone, snow fell in Los Angeles and the temperature of the North Pole rose 36 degrees above average. The Huffington Post said, one and a half acres of forest was cut down every second and ocean pollution grew to 19 billion pounds of garbage. These statistics have left many shocked around the globe, and the wave of environmental awareness has not skipped over Liberty.

Over the past few years, students have noticed many changes at LHS that work toward the goal of becoming a more environmentally friendly school. This includes recycling bins being placed near every trash can and installing purified water bottle fillers next to the water fountains. New clubs offered, such as the Environmental club and the Biology club, are popular among students for the insightful tips they provide on living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Despite the achievements LHS has made toward educating students, some members of The Bell staff argued the school has taken steps backward from their objective to be a ‘green’ school. Lunchtime has proven to be the most wasteful, with the reusable plastic lunch trays being replaced by styrofoam trays that are thrown away. Fresh fruits and vegetable options are served in plastic containers, which many students neglect to recycle.

Although there are recycling bins in every class, many students choose to throw away paper and plastic water bottles in the trash. The question The Bell staff continuously asked was, “Are these decisions done out of convenience or lack of awareness?” According to a poll of 51 students sent out by The Bell staff, a majority of students said that LHS students don’t pay attention to the effects of their actions on the environment.

One staff member noted that Liberty students, in general, are extremely unlikely to carpool or take the bus to school which would reduce each student’s carbon emissions dramatically. Students are also prone to purchase plastic water bottles from the school daily as opposed to bringing their own reusable water bottles.

Businesses worldwide, as well as those neighboring LHS, have brought attention to environmental issues by making important changes. Some of the most popular morning destinations for LHS students, Starbucks and QuikTrip, have encouraged their customers to be more eco-friendly in their daily lives by changing their products to make them less harmful to the environment. Starbucks now uses cups that don’t require a plastic straw for most of their drinks. Although Quiktrip still uses plastic and styrofoam cups for their famous “Big Q” drinks, they now inform their customers that they are able to bring back their cups for a 25 cent drink.

Despite the occasional disregard for recycling and reusing, the staff came to the conclusion that students at LHS are not environmentally aware, but with the right education and support, many may be willing to make a change.

Graphic by Victoria McCoy