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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont, USA

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Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont, USA
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Registered: November 2017
City/Town/Province: Poultney
Posts: 1
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Annie's Plastic Bag Project
Planet Earth is currently our only home as humans. The respect that it deserves has been overtaken by trash and a lack of education about the issues the planet faces. The Nicodemus Wilderness Project aims to encourage young people to take action for the environment and wildlife in their communities and on the planet. I am a nineteen-year-old girl from North Carolina who moved North to live in Vermont and attend Green Mountain College. I decided to attend a school that has a focus on sustainability because that is what I am passionate about. I came across the Nicodemus Wilderness Project while looking at environmental scholarships and thought it was the perfect inspiration for this project. The scholarship prize money is ingratiating because it helps fund my schooling, but the opportunity to broadcast my efforts to produce change is even better. Once I find out about another injustice we inflict on to the environment I try to learn as much as I can about what causes it and what I can do to help it. The way our society treats the planet is very frustrating to me and I try to implement change and teach others as I learn about things I wish were different. I learned that the only way people are going to start changing is if others around them are, so I explain to others why I do things differently and how they can too.
Plastic bags and film are not easily recycled in most recycling centers, and when they are put into normal bins they end up clogging the machines at the factories. If they do not make it to be recycled they can end up in wild places like the ocean, where they can trap or be consumed by animals and harm or kill them. One of the first images I saw when researching the harms of plastic bags is a crane fully encased in a bag. An animal trapped in plastic is unable to clean itself properly and is at very high risk of suffocation and starvation. These injustices are not the wildlife's fault, and as humans, we need to work on controlling our messes. After working with my school's Sustainability office sorting recycling for a while I noticed that there were massive amounts of plastic bags and films that had to be sent to the landfill because the recycling company can not take them. Instead of throwing all of this recyclable plastic away I started collecting it. I talked to my boss about an individual project that I could work on where I made it so my coworkers could help me collect plastic bags and bring them to a facility where they would be properly recycled.
To begin my official project I researched places that took plastic bags and films. There were a few programs that I could have used, but many cost money that I do not have so I looked into returning the bags to our local Shaw's. With a phone call ahead I would be able to bring in as many bags as I had and they take them to a facility from there. Once I decided on what to do with the bags once collected, I moved on to how I would collect them. The dormitories on my campus all have hub rooms in which our compost, recycling, and landfill bins are kept. I simply decided to print out signs asking recyclers to put their plastic bags in the bag I affixed to the wall instead of the normal recycling container. When the bags get filled all I have to do to collect is switch them with an empty one and bring a large bag to Shaw's when I have enough.
Vermont is a scenic state with parks and wildlife spread everywhere. Along the highways that lack billboards, however, there is no lack of litter. Citizens volunteer and clean the sides of roads, but if the trash were disposed of correctly or, better yet, not used in the first place there would be no need for clean up. Although it is not directly coastal Vermont is connected to Lake Champlain and many other bodies of water, as well as birds and other animals that get into trash like plastic bags and harm themselves. For their wellbeing, it is very important to recycle as many plastic bags that are used as possible. This also keeps the area beautiful for the humans that enjoy it.
Executing this project was a great way to gain confidence in my ability to generate change. It is inspiring to myself that I was able to work out and follow through with a program that helps plastic bags find their way to the correct facility for recycling. My next step in dealing with this particular project is to educate the people around me on why we should steer away from not just plastic bags, but all kinds of plastic disposables. I can take the skills I developed while working on this project and find a way to educate people about our wasteful habits. The first step in my new project is to evaluate myself and make sure my actions are ones that my peers and colleagues can follow to help us make a beneficial change. After that its all about how I plan to execute the project most effectively.
Date: November 28, 2017 Views: 307 File size: 9.6kb, 2184.0kb : 3024 x 4032
Hours Volunteered: 36
Volunteers: 4
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 & 19-23
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 11
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