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Greenwich Kids Reuse, Clean Up for Earth Day

GREENWICH, Conn. — Alexis Tatore made a pledge for Earth Day after she studied her carbon footprint in school and learned it would take six Earths to support her lifestyle. The Western Middle School student plans to collect 100 cans and bottles in Greenwich.

“It made me conscious of the energy I use and the effects of using that much,” she said while collecting half-empty plastic water bottles that were littering the school’s softball field. Tatore and the rest of the school's eighth-graders were pitching in at an Earth Day cleanup Friday afternoon.

Stacey DeBlasio and Jessica Iannacone, science teachers at Western Middle School, encouraged students to determine their carbon footprint and create T-shirts with pledges on how they plan to reduce their energy use and curb their wasteful habits.

Iannacone says the students accept that changes need to be made.

“This generation has grown up with energy as the forefront. It’s one of the major topics of political elections. Our older generation, we’re the ones where things like littering and recycling went by the wayside.” she said.

“They’ve made great strides in awareness overall. They played a truth or dare game with one another asking insightful, truthful questions about things like recycling, and then they dared one another to do these challenges over the weekend. Some challenged you to ride your bike if it’s less than 4 miles away, or take a shower in under four minutes,” said DeBlasio.

The students have also been blogging about their challenges and pledges as well as providing facts from online sources.

Iannacone made her own pledge to get 170 families to shop with reusable bags. She reached her goal thanks to a donation by Fairway Market in Stamford. The store donated one shopping bag for each of the 170 eighth-graders at Western Middle School. On Friday, April 13, a group of students, along with Iannacone and DeBlasio, went to Fairway to get shopping bags from Robert Reinisch, the store manager.

Fairway’s policy is to be “earth conscious," said Reinisch. The store does a lot of recycling, including using its recycled materials to make reusable bags, he said. “I tell my staff to always ask if customers want reusable bags,” he added.

Student Sophia Portera pledged to be less wasteful. “I don’t save energy very well and I use a lot by keeping things plugged in while I’m not using them. I’ve been trying to change that,” she said.

“I’ve been trying to reduce using a lot of water. I take really long showers, so I’m stopping that,” said student Erik Menchaca. He also tried to eat vegan for a weekend, but found it harder than it seemed. “I need my meat,” he said.

Student Jon Lore tried to eat only vegetarian meals for one weekend and also had difficulty. “I looked on a website and it said if you become a vegetarian one weekend a month it reduces your chances of getting a heart attack by 17.3 percent. So I’m trying to be healthier,” he said, adding that he ate a lot of grains and vegetables. “Once in a while I think I could do it.”

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