Green week throws off climate blues

“The earth is awesome,” said junior Nathan Kaloupek with enthusiasm at the weekly Student Council meeting, which focused a lot on the Earth last week during the Green Week celebration. Co-hosted by Student Council and 100th Green Butterfly, the week was a time to raise awareness about the Earth’s climate trouble, propose solutions to climate change, and encourage recycling. “We are trying to raise environmental issues and bring them to students,” said Kaloupek. Efforts to open students’ eyes about a troubled earth included showings of the Planet Earth documentary last Monday in the multi-purpose room and last Thursday in the auditorium. It did not directly show the earth in a substantial amount of danger, but rather indirectly a few parts of the world that are in danger. Students were encouraged to ride their bikes to school last Wednesday instead of driving their gas consuming vehicles. Bike racks were added in place of parking spots close to the school for convenience, and students seen with a bike at school got raffle tickets. The prize for the raffle was a $200 gift certificate to Skunk River Cycles, paid for by Student Council. Tickets were unavailable to purchase, providing an incentive for students to ride their bikes. Junior Laurel Tuggle was the lucky winner of the prize, but others felt just as good about the ride. “Biking to school is the way to go,” sophomore C.J. Cummings said. “I think I speak for everybody when I say that biking to school just makes your day better.” 100th Green Butterfly’s hopes were that students would enjoy a nice bike ride on a beautiful day so much that they would want to do it everyday. Students also participated in an art project that ended last Friday. Chicken wire was put on display and students could add their pieces of art to create a school-wide, weeklong project. The idea was for students to showcase their garbage instead of throwing it away. The display proved that bottles and wrappers could be turned into a piece of art rather than gather in the garbage. “A developing art project that students could get in on was the goal,” said Kaloupek. This project was sponsored by the art boosters at Ames High. Student Council also handed out free ice cream last Tuesday during both lunches to freshmen and sophomores in the cafeteria, while the upperclassmen enjoyed their ice cream under the sun in the courtyard. Principal McGrory provided the ice cream for the students as a reward for the recent ranking among top schools in the nation. This event was a gift to the hard working students of Ames High School, and a ploy to get students outside. The week ended with a speech by Tara Clapp, the Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Regional Planning in the College of Design at Iowa State and visited Ames High last. In “What Can We Do About Climate Change?” Clapp made suggestions about the climate during both lunches. Clapp’s main points included individual action vs. collaborative action, potential for impact, citizenship and sustainability, the importance of working together, and what local governments and community groups are doing in U.S. communities. Green week finished off with Battle of the Bands at Bandshell Park last Saturday. The line up included The Chinchillas, Prism Schism, JJ Thomson, SOAP, Bombardier, Acoustic Side Project and This is Good. The bands played in hopes of raising awareness of a distressed earth. “I am glad I played the show,” said sophomore Ben King, a member of Soap, “I think it is a good cause and it was nice to see the number of people there that we saw.” “We were raising money for the conservation of the prairie behind the school,” said junior Julia Reynolds, a member of 100th Green Butterfly. This is not the first event that 100th Green Butterfly has held. “Every Wednesday we collect recycle bins from the classrooms and sort them for recycling,” said Reynolds. “We also do various activities around the year and give the profits to environmental causes.” The next generation of citizens were well informed about some hardships of the earth thanks to Green Week. 100th Green Butterfly and Student Council were successful in making students more conscientious about the earth so that they could make a difference no matter how small – from riding a bike to using your old Gatorade bottle as art.