This project started as a desire to join, or at least aid, in the protests against climate change that took place on March 15 worldwide as well as a possible addition to the #trashtag challenge. I wanted to do something to help the environment and I thought it would be prudent to start with the place I spend most of my time: Glenstal.
Looking around at the main grounds of the school I’ve noticed a fair amount of trash. Whether it be on the main drive or behind the main school building, there was trash to be seen everywhere and I found it to be both a blight on the general atmosphere of the grounds and a detrimental addition to the environment. So, when I heard about the protests against climate change as well as the #trashtag challenge, I resolved to organize a group of students to help me in cleaning up the grounds.
At first I wanted the cleanup to be a huge event open to children of every year and with a scope covering all of the schools grounds. However, after talking to Ms. Honan, I realized that it would be much better to keep the group small and dedicated to ensure that everyone involved would be there to help clean. Following this I had to cut the group down to only people that I could verify would actually want to join for the cleanup. I wanted the cleanup to mean more than just an excuse to skip class and to serve as an example of how such an event could function if I were to try and organize another one.
On the day of the event my volunteers and I excused ourselves from the class after lunch and left to our dorms to put on clothes we were comfortable with getting dirty. We used trash bags and gloves that I sourced from the laundry room. We met up at the reception at 2 and immediately got to work cleaning up the grounds. Starting towards the back of the school we split into two small groups with one group wrapping around the back of school and the other group cleaning up around the old science labs before going to meet up with the first group. After we finished behind the school we started cleaning up the main drive and the surrounding vegetation; eventually making our way all the way down to the bridge before we called it a day.
In total we collected around 8 full bags of trash during the cleanup and we most certainly didn’t get to all of it. I hope that this event isn’t the last of its kind on these grounds and I would love to start cleanups like these as a way to benefit this community and our environment. However, I feel that it would be better if these cleanups weren’t necessary at all in the first place and I urge my fellow students to please put your trash in the bins along the road. Really, it isn’t that hard and it makes a world of a difference to the environment and the general atmosphere of the school.
I hate to end this piece on a low note but the unfortunate reality needed to be addressed and I hope that by identifying it we as a community can start to move forward and become more environmentally aware. This is the only planet we have right now and we really don’t need to follow in our forefathers footsteps by destroying our ability to live on it. We can do better. We have to do better.
Cormac Feely(5th Year)