Sousa’s Green Committee challenges students to reduce waste

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Sousa Elementary School's Green Committee pushes students to reduce their carbon footprint. (Photo courtesy of Sousa's Green Committee)

While people of all ages are witnessing the effects of climate change, the youngest residents of the world will be the most affected.

A group of parents and teachers at Port Washington’s Sousa Elementary School who are part of Sousa’s Green Committee set out to preserve the Earth for those young populations by introducing the Reduce Challenge in an effort to teach students to minimize their carbon footprint.

A list of achievable initiatives to cut down on waste was provided to students who were asked how many they could commit to doing.

Some of the group’s suggestions include using both sides of the paper when drawing or printing, riding a bike or scooter when going somewhere close by, taking smaller portions for school lunch, turning off the faucet when brushing teeth and shutting off the lights when leaving a room.

The list is posted in each of Sousa’s classrooms and each month students will tackle reduction in a different category. March concentrates on trash, April targets pollution May zeroes in on food and water waste reduction.

Students will end the school year in June focusing on reducing another type of pollutant: negative thoughts, words and actions.

“Even if we reach one student, then the hard work was worth it,” Jillian Lundberg, Sousa HSA co-president.  “I’m looking forward to seeing what the coming months bring.”

Reducing wasn’t the only one of the three R’s that the Green Committee taught students. They also touched upon the importance of the other two: to recycle and reuse.

While members of the committee stressed the importance of recycling, they wanted to spark action in the other two Rs that are practiced less frequently.

Melissa Steeves, the former co-chair of the Green Committee, said the one thing that struck her was how much the Sousa students already knew about the three Rs.

“Sousa is obviously doing a good job in educating them and it’s a good sign that the little ones are so engaged,” Steeves said. “Hopefully, our talk now makes them do more about reduction rather than only recycling.”

Sousa’s Green Committee also introduced J.P. the sea turtle who will serve as their mascot.

The group is expected to present to students at Guggenheim and Daly Elementary Schools in the coming months.

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