Addie Geitner ‘21, Dylan Gantt ‘21
Earth Day was established on April 22, 1970 in the United States. Solely a US holiday, in 1990 it became a worldwide celebration and day of awareness for environmental conservation, protection, and love. For many, Earth Day is celebrated out of love for the environment and hope to keep the Earth, its ecosystems, and its inhabitants healthy for generations to come. It’s a day when everyone can work together to increase understanding of the environmental challenges that our world currently faces.
Mercersburg Academy does not celebrate Earth Day to the extent that many high school and college campuses do, but the Green Team hopes to change that this year. The Green Team, as many know, is Mercersburg’s club for environmental sustainability, awareness, and activism. Earth Day is usually a big deal for the club because on that day they perform their yearly community outreach program, Project E.D.E.N. Every year, members give a short presentation to the fourth and fifth graders at Mercersburg Elementary School on topics like climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and electricity and water consumption. Afterward, they present every student with an LED light bulb to take back to their home as a reminder of what they learned and hopefully as a catalyst for their family to choose environmentally friendly options like LED bulbs.
Many students face two dilemmas when trying to determine what action they can take to impact the environment: little actions won’t do anything, and even if one could think of a bigger action, nothing can be done to prevent the impending climate crisis. Such concerns miss the point. No food pantry volunteer donates a can of soup intending to end world hunger. The places in which everyone can make immediate and worthwhile impacts are within one’s community, in particular, at Mercersburg. By advocating for sustainability in every corner of campus, students can contribute to the global shift to rely on renewable energy sources, eliminate one’s carbon footprint, invest greenly and justly, and consume minimally. Students must express interest in these initiatives if they are going to be implemented at the school. Signing petitions, hanging posters in windows, and beginning conversations with other students and faculty are all ways to stir the pot and celebrate Earth Day.
Many students bought the Green Team’s fundraising item this year, the twentieth anniversary Green Team t-shirt, the funds of which went to purchasing the LEDs that will be given to the students at the elementary school. For our presentation this year, the Green Team made recorded videos that we will send to the local school. This Earth Day, Green Team is hoping to pull off an exciting and fun slate of Earth “Week-End” activities for the school community. On Earth Day evening, there will be a series of environmental documentaries for the entire school community. On Friday, the Green Team plans to share a video from a Mercersburg Academy and Cloud Forest School alumnus. On Saturday, there will be a spikeball tournament, and forecast for Sunday, flower, and bush planting on back-campus. All in all, the Green Team hopes these activities engage the students on Earth Day and help them be more environmentally conscious in the future.