Reduce, reuse, recycle: Speaker urges students to protect the environment

Luke Schneider

Educator and artist Miles Hochhalter spoke to the Environmental Club about how disposable materials affect the planet and the necessity of environmental activism Dec. 3. Hochhalter also encouraged students to implement change by living environmentally-friendly lives.

“It’s important to know that you guys have significant change-making potential,” Hochhalter said. “If you’re one person who says, ‘I don’t want a plastic bag,’ you’re affecting hundreds of thousands of people.”

Hochhalter also discussed the economic effects of better waste management. He said that conservation is not only the right thing to do for the planet but is also economically beneficial.

“If we made a system where we didn’t have to pay millions and millions of dollars every year for waste management, that ends up being better for us,” Hochhalter said. “It would save us money and save the city money, so they could direct that to education or transportation.”

Many societal factors that contribute to environmental effects, including a greater focus on individual convenience, Hochhalter said.

“[We switched from] using things until they’re done to using things once and tossing them out,” Hochhalter said. “You’ve probably used thousands of plastic utensils in your life, not because you chose to, but because of systemic effects.”

Club leader Anja Clark ’19 said she appreciated Hochhalter’s visit because she believes the school community can take steps to be more sustainable.

“[Being environmentally friendly] is just common sense and [should be done] out of respect for the planet and everything other than us that lives in it,” Clark said. “We should be conscious that is is not only humans who live here and our actions affect everything. I don’t think we have a right to destroy the planet; it’s selfish. It’s important to use sustainable products to help maintain natural resources and reduce fossil fuel consumption.”