Ireton students look out for Mother Earth

The goal of the environmental club at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria is to help students realize the impact they have on the planet and try to make that impact a positive one. This year, the club performed service projects, including planting a small garden near the Ireton Oblate House. They currently are exploring ideas for durable, easy to care-for plants for the garden.

On Earth Day, April 22, the club "spread awareness of the environment and how important it is to appreciate the gifts we've been given," said club President Stephanie Lin. In addition to reading environmental facts during schoolwide morning announcements, the club asked students to donate old shoes as part of a "Soles4Souls" drive. Soles4Souls is a nonprofit organization that, to date, has collected and distributed 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries in an effort to fight poverty and waste. The Ireton donation drive helped boost awareness that "95 percent of the 20 billion shoes thrown away every year are thrown in landfills," according to Lin.

As a school, Ireton continues to strive to improve how it treats the environment. Lin pointed to the school's paper use as one area for possible improvement.

"Not only is paper high in cost, but (its use) contributes to deforestation, and it is often not properly recycled," she said. "We should be looking at more paperless options, such as teachers posting PowerPoints online instead of handing them out and assignments being posted to the portal or on Google classroom."

On an individual basis, Lin urges students always to keep in mind the impact they have on the environment and to do little things like recycling bottles and turning off lights.

"Whether the small things or something bigger for your planet on Earth Day, like bringing in a pair of shoes, just remember to always keep in mind your impact on our world," she said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016