Thomas Jefferson students are finally taking the leap into a more sustainable lifestyle.
‘Under our country’s current administration, environmental sustainability is not of great concern. This forces high school students to take matters into their own hands and create change in their communities. The effort began back in July when a small committee of Denver Public Schools (DPS) students came together expressing their concern for our environment. Through their discussions, a movement was founded: The DPS Sustainability Committee is a new group of DPS wide high schools that aims to find ways to make our schools and the district more environmentally sustainable. Although the movement was small in the beginning, it has now spread to more than five schools and 75 total members, with an extra push to include non-DPS schools as well.
The movement was started by two juniors from East High School and South High School. While they have their own chapters, leading the pack at TJ is President Joe McComb. McComb stated, “I started the TJ Chapter because real change happens on a small scale. Solving small issues here at TJ can help our world be a more sustainable place for generations to come.” With help from Vice President Grace McDonald and teacher sponsor / AP Environmental Science teacher Brett Butera, they can combine their strengths to create environmentally savvy goals for TJ in the upcoming years.
Starting next semester, TJ will begin a composting project, encouraging students to be conscious of the food they throw in the trash and teaching them new ways to help the environment at home. The committee has also created long term recycling goals to increase the diversion rate, the amount of trash diverted from landfills to recycling plants. By 2020, the committee hopes to raise the diversion rate from 19% to 34% in DPS schools and encourage students to do the same in their communities. While this may be a lofty goal, efforts to encourage change are being discussed throughout DPS high schools, and the Environmental Club at TJ is determined to make changes in our community to help us create a healthier planet.
Luckily, the TJ Environmental Club is open and accepting members. If you are looking to help your community, go speak to Mr. Butera in room 120 or talk to McComb or MacDonald. Starting second semester, meetings will be held every other Wednesday starting on January 9th . Come join the TJ Environmental Club and start making a difference in your school and the world today.