Environmental Issues and West Salem High school

Elly Goodenough, Staff Writer

Environmental Issues and West Salem High School

Elly Goodenough


The planet’s diminishing health is top of mind right now, specifically with younger generations. The Pew Research Center said,  “81% of millennials believe the planet is indeed warming, and that 65% of those millennials say human activity is the primary cause.” Additionally, according to NASA, “The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”

Young adults are talking about global warming, the burning of the Amazon rainforest, and the oceans dying. It’s clear that something must be done – and fast. “This is important to me for many reasons,” said senior Taylor Sackett. “Growing up, my family would always go on hikes, so I learned to respect nature at a young age. I care about the environment and the animals that live in it.” 

The WSHS Ecology Club, of which Sackett is President,  works to make a positive impact on our planet. Members of Ecology Club go on hikes, roadside clean ups, and other outdoor adventures. “We provide service to our community and earth by doing a highway clean up twice a year, in the past we have also implemented recycling programs at our school which is something I would like to do again,” said Sackett. Their goal is to help the earth any way they can here in West Salem. 

“We do some fun outdoor activities,” said Ecology Club advisor Kelly Rueckheim. Ecology Club is also planning an international trip. During July of 2020, they will be going to the Dominican Republic. On their last trip, they went to Panama and did some volunteer work, and also had some fun. 

What can WSHS students do to help our planet if we can’t make it to the Dominican Republic? When you are going to throw away anything recyclable, remember to use the recycling bin. You could also do something as simple as turning off the lights when you’re done in a room, or even turning off the water sooner when brushing your teeth. Another big trend is saving the turtles. Saving the turtles means you have to use not as much plastic, and pick up litter if you see any. You have to do this so turtles or any other animal won’t try eating it. So, when you see something on the ground take a little time out of your day to help and pick it up. “The environment is like the game Jenga: the more pieces we take out, the faster it collapses,” said Rueckheim.