SHS community is doing their part to care for the environment


Molly Balison

Members of Earth Club pose for the picture.

In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid the urgent environmental issues surrounding us, from climate change, to extinction and endangerment of species, to overwhelming population growth. “The unfortunate part of studying Environmental Science is you realize just what a crisis the planet is in.” John Hastings, Science teacher and Earth Club Advisor, states concerning the deterioration of the environment. Luckily, our hope in humanity can be restored through the individuals of our generation who are doing their part to make a difference. 

Three years ago, a student-driven sustainability club was organized that became known as the Earth Club. The leadership shifted to Jaize-Mae Miller, then Taylor James. These seniors hope to bring awareness of environmental issues to Sandpoint High School and gain more members to make their club a more prominent one. “Personally, the environment and issues concerning the environment are the most important thing right now in our lives, and I think it’s really important we address them.” James claims. 

I wanted to create an environment where people can get together and be able to create that and help foster change.

— Taylor James

Even though it has been difficult for the fairly new club to execute bigger projects, logistically, they are still making efforts to engage in activities to protect the environment around them. “More recently, the Earth Club has been involved in community activism that has been designed to increase action on climate change and other pressing environmental issues.” Hastings shares. “On a local scale, Student Leadership  has taken on a litter cleanup project.” The Earth Club continues to organize trash pickups around campus as well as other congested areas during their Thursday meetings. The great aspect of these little excursions is that one does not have to be a club member to to simply collect trash after school with a group. Additionally, it’s also an opportunity to obtain community service hours. 

James hopes that eventually the Earth Club will be able to form a partnership with a larger environmental organization so they can initiate more impactful projects around the community. “I wanted to create an environment where people can get together and be able to create that and help foster change,” she expressed. 

Miller explained that she was saddened by the limited turn out of students at the club meetings and she hopes to see the program take off after she graduates. She plans to take her passions for the industrial aspect of environmental issues into her future career.  “I hope that in my lifetime I will get to work on turning our central power source in America to green energy, specifically solar power and hydroelectric [power].” Miller states about her aspirations for entering the field of engineering. 

Molly Balison
SHS’s Earth Club picks up trash around the campus.

Things James and Miller have done collectively to change their lifestyles to help the environment include becoming vegetarian, recycling, cleaning up trash, purchasing second-hand clothing, utilizing public transportation or carpooling, and engaging in movements such as climate strikes. Miller stresses the importance of being mindful of composting and cutting down on overall waste especially for those living in Sandpoint. 

“I see that studying Environmental Science is the way the next generation of leadership is stepping up to find solutions,” Hastings expresses. “I am filled with hope that young people will rise up and make the world a much better place in the very near future.” There are so many youths in this generation that feel passionately about bettering the planet and are encouraging other students can make an impact in their schools, homes, and communities.