Environmental Club raises awareness against Climate Change


Molly Heintze

A tree located in the Sapienza Gardens near the PV tennis courts. The Environmental Club has been helping to keep the environment clean and raising awareness to the impacts of pollution.

From hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods, this past year has held some of the most deadly natural disasters in terms of civilian deaths. In September, Hurricane Maria devastated citizens of the Dominican Republic. In the same month, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake ravaged Mexico. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Nate also stormed through the United States. A mudslide in Mocoa, Colombia killed 200 people, while flooding and landslides in Sierra Leone caused 312 deaths. California faced some of the worst wildfires in its history. The year 2017 held some of the worst natural disasters.

The causes of these disasters have oftentimes been linked to recent changes in the climate.

The Los Angeles Times states, “A 2013 study in PNAS found that the risk of a Hurricane Katrina-level storm surge rose two to seven times for every 1.8-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature.”

The article explains that although these natural disasters are not entirely reliant on climate changes, scientists cannot determine the complex ways in how climate affects the weather occurrences.  

Many students and staff at Pascack Valley are working to stabilize the state of our environment, including the Environmental Club, with the help of two advisors Kristen Lindstrom and Michela Piccoline.

Earlier in the school year, members of the club cleaned up garbage on the trails behind PV and participated in garden cleanups. They also were able to get the tennis courts certified by the NJ Audubon Society, an environmental education and conservation organization. The club has collected gently used plastic toys and halloween costumes in order to give them to children in need, while also recycling.

“We can’t influence legislation right now, but we can make conscientious choices to reduce our carbon footprint,” Lindstrom said. “If enough people make that choice, it will be enough to make a difference.”

Junior Environmental Club board members, Cassidy Smith, Naria Zuluaga, and Julianna Xhaferi, are personally taking action. Each student is pushing to raise awareness of pollution by doing small things, such as reminding their friends to recycle at lunch.

Xhaferi emphasizes how small acts which only ‘take up a minute of your time’ can have a huge impact, while Zuluaga makes an effort to personally pick up any litter she sees.

“My friends are realizing that it’s important for us to do these steps so then in the future, it can improve our environment,” Smith said.

These three students are only few out of the many students across the world advocating for environmental improvement.

“Anything from using reusable water bottles, using fewer plastic bags, trying to walk to school. Just trying to be more conscious of the things that they’re using,” Piccoline said.

According to Piccoline, making small decisions to recycle more or clean up trash can have a positive effect on the state of our environment.

“I think that because there are so many people on Earth, that if everyone of those people did make small changes it would just have such a greater impact,” Piccoline said. “You think of yourself as one person, but you actually are part of a large community of everybody on Earth.”