The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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South Seeks Sustainability

*according to EducationWeek
graphic by Erin Walker

 Last year was the hottest year ever recorded. 

Carbon dioxide levels are currently the highest they have been in more than four million years and the sea level is predicted to rise two feet in the next century, according to AP News and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, respectively. 

Growing up, we are cautioned about the importance of protecting our environment. Yet the same schools that are sharing the importance of being sustainable are taking minimal action to make that happen.

Our own community, Glenview, has already taken steps towards a more sustainable future with the help of organizations like Greener Glenview who are working towards creating public outreach in the community for decarbonizing Glenview.

“Environmental sustainability is everyone’s responsibility: individuals, businesses, government, faith communities, [and] educational institutions,” Sheri Latash, Greener Glenview co-founder, said. 

Glenview has understood the environment’s call, and it is time South caught on. 

South has been striving to improve its sustainability with measures that include installing LED dimmable lighting, updating drinking fountains, and reducing paper waste, Georges said. But, there still needs to be more done considering the lack of major programs such as recyling. 

Students also have a lack of knowledge about South’s sustainability due to the district providing little to no information on this topic through its website or policies, senior Alyssa Blomquist said. 

Having transparent sustainability policies and easily accessible resources is a great place to start this transition. 

“Sustainability efforts are not something that typically lives in policy, but rather the execution of decisions related to district systems and facilities,” Principal Dr. Georges said.

But the approving new sustainability plans and diving into environmental issues further is essential. The student body must support sustainability initiatives as well.

Active engagement is crucial for South to help our community take the next steps toward a greener future, whether it be student activism for this change or the district making policies. 

This engagement needs to happen now. 

If District 225 were to create a position or committee for the purpose of promoting sustainability, both the environment and Glenview tax-payers would benefit, as South becomes more efficient with our energy and resources, Latash explained.

“This past August, Greener Glenview and several other groups participated in an environmental roundtable to gather ideas for new state legislation,” Latash said. “[There] we presented the idea of creating a Chief Sustainability Officer position at the Illinios State Board of Education and school districts of a certain size. Rep. Gong-Gershowitz indicated an interest in proposing a resolution on this issue as a first step.”

We are very lucky to live in Glenview and should not take that for granted, Biology Teacher Jessica Pritzker said. 

“There are millions of people that will be climate refugees, in the next few decades [due to climate change] and they are going to want to live where you live,” Pritzker said. “That will affect you, your taxes, and the way that you are able to spend money and purchase property.”

Being more sustainable is not out of reach for South. Illinois has partnered with  schools through the Illinois Green Schools Project. This Project is just one of many ways the community offers opportunities for schools to help play their part in creating a more sustainable planet. The program helps schools start environmental programs and offers grants to committees who request it to fulfill environmentally-related projects. 

It is easy to resign ourselves to believing that we do not have the power to create change. However, it is crucial to remember the diligent work of climate activists, like Greta Thunberg, who show that even young voices can make the greatest difference. We must recognize this power of our voices. 

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