Embracing our Earth


Graphic by Evelyn Shue

Earth Day is an international holiday celebrated in over 193 countries around the world on April 22.

Jocelyn Yuan, Senior Features Writer

Every year on April 22, the world comes together to celebrate Earth Day, a global event that unites millions in a shared mission to protect our planet. With the impacts of climate change on the rise, the health and sustainability of the environment are becoming more and more important, along with the annual celebration of Earth Day.

Earth Day was originally established in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to bring awareness to the negative impacts of industrialization on the environment. It has since evolved into a global celebration, garnering engagement from over one billion individuals across almost two hundred countries every year. 

Various clubs and organizations at RM are involved as well, such as Climate Club. Climate Club aims to combat environmental crises, such as climate change and pollution, by organizing events and projects that give students a chance to create change.

The club is currently constructing a rain garden near the bus loop. “We just got the plants for it recently, and we’re using money from a grant to fund our projects,” freshman and Climate Club leader Josie Kim said. “A rain garden allows thirty percent more water to soak into the ground, so it will help with runoff.”

The Climate Club has also been working with the nonprofit Tree-Plenish to plant 400 native trees in Montgomery County. Local community members ordered saplings to be planted in their yard by volunteers or picked up on April 22, which happens to be Earth Day.

“We sold 487 trees and passed our goal,” freshman Barkha Bishnoi said. “It has the potential to sequester one million pounds of carbon in fifty years, which is utterly amazing.”

In addition to constructing a rain garden and planting trees, the Climate Club has organized many initiatives in the past, such as the faucet aerator project that replaced water faucets in school bathrooms with ones that conserved more water.  “I think the biggest takeaway from these projects is that we are helping the environment while also giving back to the community around us,” Kim said.

Apart from clubs, RM itself has many ongoing school-wide initiatives as well, such as the Trex Plastic Recycling Challenge. “[It] is something we started five years ago, and each year we re-enroll in the program and collect at the school,” administrative secretary Ms. Laura Hermansdorfer said. “Mr. Goetz collects the plastic from each bin on a biweekly basis. He weighs the plastic and drops it off at a local grocery store.”

Despite having been started recently, the Trex Plastic Recycling Challenge has already achieved great success. “We submitted a total of 1,300 pounds of plastic this school year, which is the largest amount we have ever submitted,” Ms. Hermansdorfer said. 

Upcoming projects include moving the butterfly garden to an area with richer soil and greater sun exposure, as well as increasing lunch areas outdoors.

“Most of the environmental projects are student-led,” Ms. Hermansdorfer said. “If you have an idea for a project, come with a proposal to staff members like Ms. Deeny or Ms. Hernandez.”

For those who are unsure of what to do and aren’t involved in large projects, smaller projects can be just as good of a way to celebrate Earth Day.

“I plan to water my houseplants that I’ve been neglecting for the past few months and stop wasting as much water,” freshman Chloe Kennedy said. “I think actual action is important over all else.”

Kennedy additionally shared her thoughts on the significance of Earth Day.

“It brings awareness to things we don’t often–but should–consider in our everyday lives,” Kennedy said.