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Bringing More Green Improvements to the Double Blue

An enhanced ‘green initiative’ was rolled out just in time for Earth Day 2022 with much assistance from our own Green Initiative club at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).

“Students in the Green Initiative have been advocating for increased waste diversion for several years,” says Annelise Beaton Smith, science teacher at SMCS and one of the after-school club’s faculty moderators. “The pandemic put the implementation on hold, but the school is now in a position to roll out this enhanced programme.”

The programme officially launched on April 22, Earth Day, with the installation of brand-new waste disposal bins throughout the school in areas such as the cafeteria, hallways, and other common spaces.

SMCS Green Initiative | New compost bins
Members of the Green Initiative helped advocate for an enhanced recycling programme at SMCS.

“This is a practical opportunity to practice stewardship in our cafeteria, our classrooms, and our offices,” says Cory Lance, SMCS teacher and  co-moderator of the Green Initiative. “In Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Laudato Si’, he laments environmental degradation and global warming, stating ‘Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years’.”

While the programme supports the school’s Vision to “graduate young men who will change the world through lives of faith, character, and service,” it also aligns with our commitments as a Legacy School with the Downie Wenjack Fund. SMCS has committed to work towards ally-ship with Indigenous Peoples of this land with honour, honesty, and integrity.

“Waste diversion is important at our school because when we don’t dispose of waste properly, it has real consequences,” says Matthew Redmond, Grade 11 student and the club’s student leader. “More garbage ends up in landfills and the gases from food waste pollute our atmosphere. We have a responsibility as being such privileged people to give back in the form of stewardship.”

Redmond and other members of the Green Initiative took the lead in educating their classmates on the initiative through the morning announcements during Earth Week.

In recent years, the Green Initiative has also been a major advocate for other changes and improvements made around the SMCS campus, including replacing all of the school’s drinking fountains with water bottle refill stations.

SMCS Green Initiative creating a poster
Green Initiative members creating a poster for the new programme.

“This is a particularly motivated group of students,” says Beaton Smith. “They are very committed to diverting waste from landfills. They set up a pen and marker recycling programme early this year by placing collection bins in each classroom. The students in Green Initiative regularly collect the waste and at the end of the year, all the pen and marker waste will be sent to TerraCycle via the Staples recycling programme instead of to a landfill.”

The Green Initiative also helped to promote a programme started by Dr. Robert Fantilli, SMCS math teacher, encouraging students to donate their uneaten fruit. The fruit is collected and brought to local charities to support those in need in our community, in addition to keeping perfectly good food out of landfills.

In the future, the club hopes to continue to divert waste by setting up a simple battery and electronic recycling programme for students.

“I think what’s next for the Green Initiative is continuing to try to create more passion in the student body for environmentalism and taking on new challenges such as improving the energy efficiency of our school,” adds Redmond. “Of course, this club is a collaborative effort so plenty of ideas will come out of the group!”

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