Water awareness is on the rise at Academy. Academy girls are now taking many strides to conserve water. Conscious of the environment, more and more Academy students are switching to reusable water bottles. Many girls consume several bottles of water throughout the school day and after school at sports practice. This frequent need for water can add up to a case of water bottles a week for one girl alone. This fact alone has spurred more and more students to go green and switch to reusable alternatives.
Over the summer, many senior girls read the book When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce. The book dealt with the importance of water conservation, the use of free water by companies that sell water for profit, and the possibilities of a global water shortage.
The book was one of two choices required by senior English teacher Mrs. Edie LeBas and Social Justice teacher Sister Ann Regan. The two teachers began working last spring to set up a cross-curricular project that will eventually link online discussions by AHN seniors with students at two SNJM schools, one in Albany, New York, and the other in Oakland, California. The students will share problems and solutions provided in the book and in online readings posted on HyLighter, an interactive discussion platform already used in Honors Journalism and AP Literature.
Mrs. LeBas said, ” I am happy that so many seniors chose this important book even though it was the more difficult read of the two social issue books, especially for summer reading. It is a college-level book that was assigned two years ago to entering freshmen at the University of Florida.”
Sister Ann felt it was important for Academy girls to read the book because “it dealt with water issues globally, but also addressed issues in Florida, close to home.” The book mentions a desalination plant right in Tampa.
“The most important concept from the book was the title. It forced me to realize that water is a gift. God gifts us with water, but if we use it correctly it may not be gifted to us again, ” Sister Ann said.
Mr. Sloshberg, science teacher and moderator of the Environmental Club, is a strong supporter of reusable water bottles. “Reusable water bottles are a better choice for the environment because even if you recycle plastic bottles, the recycling process itself uses energy.”
Disposable water bottles are particularly harmful to the Earth because only about 50% of them are recycled. According to Mr. Sloshberg, recent scientific research shows that a layer of plastic film was found at the bottom of the ocean resulting from disposable water bottles. The Environmental Club plans to sell reusable water bottles to raise awareness of the issue and promote the decrease of disposable water bottle use.
Sara Torres, Academy senior, switched to a reusable water bottle at the beginning of this year and recommends the decision to anyone who consumes water frequently. “I was going through two or three plastic water bottles during school and crew practice every day so a reusable one was just a better choice,” she says. Sara chose a Camelbak brand water bottle because of its durability and volume.
Water bottles are not the only alternative to disposable bottled water. Also popular among Academy girls are “tumblers,” large reusable plastic cups with lids and straws. Many tumblers showcase symbols and decorations, displaying anything from sports logos to flamingos.
“It’s useful and convenient, but also shows my personality,” says Chaz Carnevale, Academy senior. Her tumbler is country themed, with a cowboy decal. The many different tumblers in the senior lounge show that Academy girls have a vast range of interests and likes, but all share the common goal of helping the environment.
Although disposable bottled water can be convenient, recyclable and fairly cheap, reusable water bottles have benefits that have persuaded Academy students to change their habits. They are better for the earth, and they save money.