The earth day celebration that wasn’t

I heard April 22 was Earth Day. Maybe it was just a rumor, for it went by almost completely unnoticed here.

Connor Mitts

Among a recent storm of Disney movies trying to compete with the phenomenal Discovery series Planet Earth and Life, one would think that interest in Earth Day would be growing. I remember in elementary school my fourth grade teacher gave everyone in class a baby pine tree and told us all to go plant it somewhere for Earth Day. I tried my backyard, where my dog promptly killed and ate half of it, but at least we took note of the day and its importance.

The morning announcements on April 22 never mentioned Earth Day. In fact, I heard more hype in my classes over Hitler’s birthday.

Dennis Moore, a Kansas Congressman, came to Northwest to present prizes for the top three pieces of art in the fourth annual Earth Day Art Festival. First place went to senior Grant Brady, second place to senior Jordan Key, and third place to senior Emanuel Medina.

These three made some amazing sculptures and artwork from recycled materials, and were not recognized or even mentioned to the school as a whole. Even worse, Dennis Moore was in the building and the vast majority of us had no clue. We as a school wasted a wonderful opportunity. This holiday deserves to be celebrated, instead of losing its place in the school and community.

The announcements that preached at us to plant more trees, recycle all of the paper we used and make sure to buy recycling bins if we didn’t already own one are gone. Now, every day, I see people throwing away water bottles and plastic milk cartons when they could be placed in the red Coke can-shaped recycling bins. I’m not innocent of this either, but it might help if we had a few more in the cafeteria and not scattered throughout the hallways. It’s amazing how many water bottles end up in the recycled paper bins when the bins for plastic are just outside in the hall.

But it’s not just about putting the wrong recyclable in a bin. In many cases, I’ve found that people prefer to play basketball with their paper and use the trash cans rather than aim a little to the left and shoot for the recycling bins.

Maybe teachers should recycle our old assignments instead of returning them to us, since most of us will throw our papers away. Nobody wants to remember their literary analysis, much less keep it.

Maybe next year, we could finally do something for Earth Day again. We should all be handed a plant in our science classes and take a field trip over to an empty, ugly patch in the forest part of the outdoor lab and plant it. It doesn’t have to be big. We could grow our own vegetables and use those for a day or two in the cafeteria, or plant some flowers and use those for the plant sale. Everyone would feel more included.

We all know how much the administration pushes us to get involved. So maybe if we finally took their advice and came up with a whole school project, we could make our small chunk of Earth a better place.

-Connor Mitts