The Guardian (Charlottetown)

Sustainabl­e solutions

Colonel Gray students protest littering, lack of waste reduction at P.E.I. high schools

- DANIEL BROWN LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER Twitter.com/dnlbrown95

Meghan Runge wants her high school to take steps toward reducing waste and saving energy.

"We're looking into solutions for how we could be more sustainabl­e."

She was one of about 20 to 30 Colonel Gray High School students protesting littering and climate change inaction during the lunch hour on April 21 – partly in recognitio­n of Earth Day, which is today.

The school's environmen­tal club recently conducted an assessment of its own school to see whether any green improvemen­ts could be made. Single-use cutlery in the cafeteria is a concern, and the building's heating should be better regulated rather than left on most of the time, Runge said.

Colonel Gray is heated by Charlottet­own's waste-to-energy plant, so upgrading the school's thermostat­s could be a solution to saving heat.

"It would be nice to not waste so much of that sustainabl­e source," she said. "We share that energy."

The school's bathrooms were also a subject of concern as the urinals automatica­lly flush every 15 minutes when the lights are turned on,

which uses about 12 gallons of water. One possible solution would be to install an automatic light system that turns off when nobody’s in the room.

“You’re using that water for no reason.”

The club already presented its findings to the school’s principal, and it’s preparing a larger presentati­on to the City of Charlottet­own and some local MLAs later this school year that would hopefully involve and apply to more Island schools, Runge said.

Grade 11 student Zachary Preston, another club member, wants all Islanders to be better educated about getting to the root of waste reduction.

“We should be conscious of what we buy.”

For example, electric cars may be promoted as being environmen­tally friendly, but that doesn’t necessaril­y take into account the materials used to make them, such as plastics, or the fuel used to import them. Having full awareness of the products being consumed is key, he said.

“They cure the symptoms; they don’t cure the disease.”

He’s been active in many of the club’s initiative­s this year, which focused on education sessions and initiative­s such as neighbourh­ood clean-ups and encouragin­g the use of reusable grocery bags.

 ?? DANIEL BROWN • LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER ?? Colonel Gray High School students held a protest against littering and climate change inaction on Spring Park Road in Charlottet­own on Wednesday.
DANIEL BROWN • LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER Colonel Gray High School students held a protest against littering and climate change inaction on Spring Park Road in Charlottet­own on Wednesday.
 ?? DANIEL BROWN • LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER ?? Meghan Runge, a Grade 11 student at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottet­own, joined her classmates for a protest outside the school on Spring Park Road on April 21.
DANIEL BROWN • LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER Meghan Runge, a Grade 11 student at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottet­own, joined her classmates for a protest outside the school on Spring Park Road on April 21.

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