R3 is the new environmental club on campus. It stands for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which is a common phrase used in environmental activism in an effort to reduce waste. The club was started by seniors Adamari Saldana and Alisha Bloom in an effort to help the environment and to provide a community in which to do that.
“We needed power and there’s power in numbers. We felt like we were the only two who really cared and we knew that wasn’t true and we knew that if we started this club other kids would come and feel more welcome to talk about it [environmental activism] and know they’re not alone,” Bloom said.
Many club members got involved with environmental activism by seeing posts on Instagram about the state of pollution, seeing trash on the ground, and watching documentaries.
“I wanted to do my part to help the community and I want to save the future because right now it’s not looking good,” junior Marquis Taylor said.
Many in the club are inspired by popular environmental activists. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden started the ‘Fridays for the Future’ strikes that happen every Friday. She is most famous for speaking at a UN conference about the effects of climate change on the lives of future generations as well as her message towards world leaders that they need to act on climate change now or the future generations will never forgive them.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a U.S. Representative from New York, is making impacts at the government level with her proposed Green New Deal that aims to address climate change and economic inequality.
Leonardo DiCaprio, famous for his acting, has a foundation that is dedicated to saving all inhabitants of the planet. Some in the club also mentioned looking up to local activists such as Saldana and Bloom for having the courage to start the club.
“This year Adamari and Alisha have done a great job recruiting, so it’s a lot bigger than it has been in the past,” science teacher and club adviser Julie Trisel said. “They have so many ideas that are just fantastic.”
Saldana and Bloom’s big goals include planting a community garden, installing solar panels on campus, becoming a green school, getting more plants for both inside and outside the building, as well as selling more reusable items.
The club also has some smaller goals such as getting rid of plastic utensils, doing an audit of the waste in the cafeteria, and adding more vegetarian/vegan options.
“[The environmental club] can be a force of change. Seeing some positive improvements to this school. A lot of goals of the club are environmentally inspired but also they just care so much about this school and improving the experience that they have while they’re here,” Trisel said.
The club offers many opportunities for students to get involved. There’s a volunteering opportunity with the Friends of Trees on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 1 where they will be planting trees. They are also planning on an event to make vegan soap, dye things with naturally derived dyes, make vegan food, hold a clothing swap event, as well as another painting session for reusable water bottles.
According to club members, there are many small things people can do to help the environment that do not require much work. These include bringing reusable bags to the store, picking up litter, using a reusable water bottle, resale shopping, and eating less meat. R3 can help provide the resources for this and are always looking for new members.
“I feel like it’s a really welcoming club and we try to involve everyone, and we really do want everyone’s opinions and every voice should be heard. The more people we have, the more likely we will be heard. I’m really looking forward to this year and I’m really hoping we get some things changed,” Saldana said.