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By Kim and Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar
Grade 11
Media Academy
Oakland, CA
Should schools make more programs about the environment available to students?
- Posted December 22, 2010
 Survey says...






It is important for schools to start clubs or groups to educate kids about the environment. Often times we donít lean about humansí effect on the world and our carbon footprint. Sure, we lean about science and history, about biology and nuclear explosionsóbut school alone is not enough. Sitting in the classroom is not the same as taking action. Environmental programs offer hands-on activities and in-depth analysis of the environment today. For example, gardening classes teach students how to grow fruits and vegetables and flowers without having to use harmful pesticides or chemicals. School gardens teach students how things grow naturally and encourage them to have their own garden at home. Those programs also offer kids a variety of different environmental fields, perhaps making the students interested in environmental sciences or zoology, so when they come of age they can take part in preserving the environment.
- Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 11, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




I think environmental clubs are beneficial, but not necessary for our schools. There are a lot of outside sources that can provide education about the environment, for example the Green News. Many programs donít involve the school but they are already educating teens. Itíll just be a waste of money to create more after school programs many kids arenít interested in and really donít need. Letís think about this realistically: how are we going to finance such programs? Our schools are already pressed on cash as it is. Although I agree education is important, I donít believe we should devote out schools to focus on the environment and science. If weíre talking about a general, public school, then I donít believe we need these programs in a big way. Schools are supposed to teach kids about a variety of subjects, and we shouldnít just focus on science. If students really want to pursue something in that field, then they should to go specialized academies that focus on science. Just like it would be unfair for us to fund only sports programs, we should not funnel more money into environmental programs.
- Kim Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 11, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




said before, school alone only scratches the surface of current environmental issues. The kids we are educating today are the kids who will take the lead in the future. If we want to effectively slow global warming and create a better world for those who come after us, then we should get educated about whatís going on and what we can do to help the Earth. I agree that there are non-profit programs that arenít part of schools that are educating out youth. But there lies our problem; those private programs themselves cannot reach the amount of youth that can be reached through the school systems. It is true that not all will be interested in taking part of these programs, but at least we are offering them the opportunity to do so. To answer the monetary argumentómost of these programs can be offered to the community because they arenít costly at all. A garden does not cost that much money to maintain. Neither does a student-led recycling program or a beach and park clean-up crew. By investing in the future leaders, we can not only educate them but also make them see they can make a real difference in the world.
- Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 11, Media Academu, Oakland, CA




Environmental programs in schools might be great for kids, but they arenít necessary. Theyíll cost too much and existing programs donít really work. For example, my school has a garden, and it only has seven students working on it, seven! Thatís out of a student body of more than 281! Thatís not enough students to make ďsocial changeĒ and ďreform global warming policies.Ē Some students simply arenít interested in after school programs at all, why would tending to a school garden or picking up trash be the exception? Why would any of these activities excite them? I understand students should get educated, but for it to be effective, long lasting, and actually get to most of students, it should be implemented into the curriculum, not an afterschool program that only benefits a handful of students. That would require working with science teachers, which wonít be costly at all.
- Kim Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 11, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




I agree with both of you. While environmental programs can be beneficial to the direct student body of the school as well as the surrounding community, it is a costly thing that most schools cannot afford, should they take the expense of such programs under their wings. And yes, it is sad, but some of the students just do not care about the environmental issues that the world is presently faced with; it may not just interest them at this time. So while I think it is costly for the school to take up such programs, it's not a bad idea for a wide-known body like ASB or Leadership to hold "green" lunchtime activities to raise awareness, or maybe host a cleanup day and open it up to the rest of the school. If you have the resources, how about creating an environmental awareness club on campus? Facebook and other social media networks make it very easy for you to advertise your cause.
- Jennie Kim, Grade 12, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, CA


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Kim & Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Media Academy, Oakland

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