BY JASON WILLIAMS, ENGLISH TEACHER, WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! IT’S MARCH!!! I don’t know about all of you, but this is one of my favorite months. My favorite color is green, my favorite season is spring, and I love watching the warm rain melt winter’s whiteness away. I am such a fan of March that my son was born on St. Patrick’s Day!!! Okay, I might not have had much say in that matter, but it sounds good for the article’s sake. To keep going with the green theme I wanted to focus my article on something that just seems to fit with March. But, instead of the Wearin’ o’ the Green, we’re going to focus on the Goin’ o’ the Green.
In recent years there has been a huge push to think more ecologically. The problem is, the focus seems to have been on adults. Teens really have very little say in your choice of car or the family’s use of it, or what light bulbs you install or the bags you ask the cashier to use, and when was the last time a teenager needed to look for the Energy Star label when buying a new hot water tank or dishwasher? But, even though Mr. Gore doesn’t focus on them much in his little eco-flick, there are some small things that teenagers can do to help our planet.
The first thing takes so little time but has a huge impact on both the environment AND your wallet. Once they are done with their Facebooking or Tweeting and they’ve powered the computer down for the night, have them pull the plug from the wall as well, or at lease flip the switch on the power strip. Most major appliances, such as computers, continue to suck power even when they are off. In fact, this unused electricity costs you about $90 a year on average for each computer in your home. No worries about losing information as the hard drive in your computers can hold everything without power.
Another kick that has hit the scene in recent years is the big push to drink more water every day. This is great advice and way up there on the list of important health tips. However, with today’s teens’ busy daily schedule – they don’t usually slow down long enough to grab a glass of water from the tap and gravitate toward the convenience of bottled water. Besides having that slightly plastic-y taste in your water, it is a huge waste of resources and landfill space. Plus, you’re going to be spending $4 on average for a 24 pack of 16-ounce bottles and the health gurus seem to think four of those bottles should make up your daily H2O intake (give or take). One of those packs isn’t going to last too long by that count! But again, there is a solution that will help Mother Earth and Mom and Dad’s pockets. Pick up one
of those nifty stainless steel water bottles. You can easily sink $15 into a really nice one, but if you do the math it will pay for itself within the month. If you’re feeling really wild and crazy, pick up a Brita pitcher to help refill those bottles with filtered watery goodness.
Finally, take the ‘greenocity’ to the stores. Many major retailers that teenagers seem to gravitate toward, such as American Eagle and Aeropostale, sell their own canvas tote bags. For about $20 they can get a bag that they can take to the mall shopping, or carry things they need when they don’t feel like lugging around their backpacks.
Teens can help the environment as much as any adult. So encourage them to do their part to keep things a little greener so we can all appreciate the super-awesome month of March a little more. Now if only we could get Mother Nature to “Go Green” for us and get rid of some of this snow…
Jason Williams is an 8th grade English Teacher at Washington Middle School. He is a life-long Chautauqua County resident along with his wife, Holly, and their son, Drew. He holds two degrees in education specializing in instructing adolescents. He is the owner and director of Lights of Broadway Productions and an avid supporter of Team DJ the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.