My sister Tracey and I are very close. Not in age, I am the oldest and she is the youngest of four. But in temperament and interests, we are very similar. We are the best of friends. She is my workout partner in martial arts, my confidant, my sounding board. Everything a sister should be, really. We even look alike. I talk to her almost every day. I know when she goes to the doctor, I know when she buys new shoes.
But you know what? She still surprises me.
When I announced the What Is My Tree? Project, I could tell she was not excited about it. As testing drew closer, I was gently reminding all of my students that they HAD to turn in the Phase I of their Tree Project before testing. Two days before testing, she plopped down in the chair across from my desk and said “I want to talk to you about this Tree thing”. The look on her face said it all. She was not happy.
She went on to describe everything she was already doing. And to express her frustration that I was asking her to do more.
When she was done venting (in a very calm and professional way), I explained to her that she was done. She had already done everything needed for the Tree project, all she had to do was write it up. She was already being a leader with her actions, I just needed her to write it up so that others could be inspired by her.
This is yet another case of the teacher learning from the student. The following is the first What Is My Tree? Project report at Little Rock Martial Arts. I’m very proud of my little sister.
What’s My Tree Project
As Ms. Ray knows, I was not thrilled to do this paper (project); I whined and complained for weeks. I explained to her that for twelve years, before recycling was “cool” – I was already doing it. She told me to put the reasons why on paper, so here it goes.
Several years ago, I began reading about the environment and the effect that the use of certain products is hurting the environment and destroying future resources for our younger generation. The average American discards 4.6 pounds of garbage every day. EVERY DAY!!! The garbage goes to landfills and it is buried. The garbage continues to grow and it effects our environment constantly. Recycling reduces the amount of solid waste going into landfills, making each landfill last longer.
After I read that, I began recycling, and made my husband recycle also. Here are some statistics for you:
- Production of recycled paper uses 80% less water and 65% less energy, and it produces 95 % less air pollution than virgin paper production.
- When making cans, using recycled aluminum requires 96% less energy than manufacturing new aluminum form its virgin material, bauxite. Four pounds of bauxite are saved for every pound of aluminum recycled.
- Recycling plastic bottles uses 76% less energy.
- Recycling paper uses 45% less energy. It also saves trees and water; making a ton of paper from recycled stock saves up to 17 trees and uses 50% less water (7000 gallons).
- Recycling glass uses 21% less energy.
Recycling reduces air and water pollution because the recycling process reduces the amount of air pollution produced by power plants and the amount of water pollution produced by chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
When plastics are recycled, you can produce coats, industrial equipment, school equipment, garden furniture, boxes, spare parts on cars…you name it, it can probably be created with recycled products. I just bought a pair of running socks made from recycled water bottles and Mountain Dew bottles! Who would have thought about that?
There are a lot of things that I try to do for the environment, but I admit there are just as many I can do better. I am terrible about buying bottled water; I have bought several recycled, reusable water bottles to take to the gym and TKD class instead.
I am one of those people you see in the store with the reusable, recycled shopping bags; I have those but I still put some things in regular plastic bags. I do take the extra ones back to Wal-Mart so they can be recycled, but the best thing to do is not get them.
What do I do right?
- I pass around magazines when I get through reading them; I refuse to throw them away.
- I take books that I have read to the nursing homes or give them to people who I know will enjoy them.
- I use dryer sheets to polish my furniture instead of throwing them out.
- We have cut down on our paper towel use; we still occasionally use them, but I have several hand towels now that are used more often.
- I always run the dishwasher and washing machine first thing in the morning; that is when the energy and water demand is lower.
- Every room in our house has energy efficient light bulbs. It took some getting use to, but I don’t think we have a regular light bulb in the house.
- You will never see a can, plastic bottle, or newspaper in my trashcan. I recycle everything I possibly can.
So, these are the three levels for my project. I will keep doing what I am doing for the environment and I will hopefully make a difference
 I Love A Clean San Diego website