Stilwell also highlights student environmental clubs at each school he visits and encourages students to join.
“Usually, we can get between 10 and 30 students to sign up after the assembly,” he said.
After watching the presentation, PHS student Keisha McCray said she was surprised to learn how much damage humans are doing to the planet through their use of fossil fuels.
“If we don’t stop this, we’re, like, all going to die, and I’m scared of that,” she said.
The ninth-grader vowed to do her part to help the environment by recycling and unplugging electronics when not using them.
”I would love to help the environment more,” she said.
Following the assembly, Stilwell and Kretser attended a meeting of the PHS Green Team, which formed four years ago after students from the school attended one of the Youth Climate Summits.
In addition to spreading awareness about climate change, the alliance also provides schools with resources, including project ideas, leadership training and grants to support them in their efforts to implement green projects.
The Green Team at PHS has already made positive contributions to the planet by encouraging the district to replace the High School’s broken water fountains with ones that include a faucet for students to refill water bottles. The group also sells and gives away refillable bottles in an effort to deter people from buying bottled water and throwing the plastic vessels away.
The school now has several of the fountains throughout the building, one of which the Green Team raised money for and purchased itself, and others that the district agreed to invest in.
In addition, the group has begun composting at the school and encourages fellow students to recycle.
“Simple stuff just makes a difference,” said Connick Miller, a senior at PHS and president of the Green Team.
Miller added that the group is now focused on getting solar panels for their school.
“That’s one of our main goals this year,” he said.
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