Re: [GRRN] Recycling and Teens: A Simplistic Perspective

Myra Nissen (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 21:18:50 -0800

OK, at first I felt I had nothing to contribute to this discussion. And
then after reading the replies, I realized that I have a lot. I was a
teenager when I began to be involved in recycling and environmental
issues. Granted, it was a different time, around Earth Day #1...But I
didn't have to become involved. Many of my peers did not.

My school had a great science department. We had a wonderful biology
teacher that made us identify the pine cones that grow in the county
where I grew up while standing in front of the class, blindfolded! He
stress the "tree of life" (a linear pre-web theory) and things being
dependant on one another. The next year an elective was avialable called
"Ecology." One of the class requirements was to volunteer at a local
recycling center. Mid-year an Ecology Club was started and our first
class was to open a community drop-off at the school for cans and
newspapers....! (Actually, I have several people to thank in GreenYes
for the opportunities I had in high school, now don't you feel old?)

I could related to the environment and recycling, etc. through natural
science. It was presented in a fun, challenging manner. The closest
thing to my experience that I know of is a publication by the State of
California Toxic Substance Control Program called the "No Waste
Anthology, A Teacher's Guide to Environmental Activites K-12." Other
idea I have are to reach them through some sort of scrap art project or
a video. This would give many opportunities to talk about issues as you
are working together on a sculpture or mural. The video could document
local issues around solid waste and recycling.

I also think it is fascinating to research just where their town's
recycling is going. What products are being made? Are these recycled
products coming back to their community? Etc.

Myra Nissen
The Sutta Company

Myra wrote:
> As a dad and coach and lover of kids (and an environmentalist), I must
> say that its never been very hard to talk recycling with young'uns when
> you're standing at a landfill or incinerator tipping floor watching stuff
> head in "Take it Away!" (where is A Way anyway?) If its in
> their "backyard" and you stand there talking to them about recycling, it
> doesn't take much.
> Then, to top off your tour, take them to a good MRF somewhere near by
> (hopefully not run by the same company - and we know who that would
> probably be - so that they don't see how bizarre the world of waste
> management is). If they don't get it, there probably isn't much hope for
> them anyway...
> The point with recycling is the simple fact that there IS an option to
> throwing things away. (or should be I guess still in some parts of North
> America).
> -Jango
> ***************************************************************************
> *****
> GreenYes Wrote:
> I received a request from a writer doing a piece on the environment for
> Earth
> Day for a magazine widely distributed to teenagers in high schools
> across the
> United States. She is asking for help in explaining the state of
> recycling
> and in motivating kids to get involved.
> Anyone care to weigh in? She wants some ideas to take to her editor
> right
> away.
> <<
> First I'd like to ask you some factual questions about
> the state of the environment. If you could keep you answers simple and
> in layman's terms, that would be best for our audience. Then, I'd like
> to ask you for some tips for what teens can do.
> 1. Why is it important to recycle? What problems have been caused by
> people
> not
> recycling?
> 2. What percentage of recyclable materials are actually recycled? What
> will happen if we continue at that rate?
> 3. How can you tell if something can be recycled?
> 4. What other environmental issues are grassrroots activists concerned
> about?
> Why?
> 5. How can teens become more educated "green" consumers?
> 6. Can teens write to companies or legislators stating their opinions?
> Specifically, where should they write?
> 7. How can teens start a recycling center?
> If you could get back to me today, I'd so appreciate it.
> >>
> David Biddle
> 7366 Rural Lane
> Philadelphia, PA 19119
> 215-247-2974 (voice & FAX)
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