Deer Isle/Stonington ECO-Club

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The Deer Isle/Stonington High School ECO-Club, motivated to promote sustainability in the school and the greater community, launched a plastics campaign to reduce single-use plastics consumption and raise awareness. In their community, the plastics problem is especially visible as fishing is the major industry and marine life has been infiltrated by microplastics. With the JMJU Micro Grant, students purchased supplies to make reusable beeswax food wrappers. Hosting several work sessions, including all-night “Bee-a-thons,” they produced the food wraps by hand and then distributed them to local stores and cafes for sale by donation. The wraps have been wildly popular. “They’re in high demand. As soon as we make them, we never have enough.” 

Changing habits can be difficult, but making the sustainable choice convenient and accessible - by offering the reusable wraps and their informational messaging in local stores - can make an impact. “I appreciate how tangible our output is. We’re creating a product and it has our message on it, and… you can maybe make someone think twice about how they’re living.” 

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“Climate justice is our future. On the island, the environment drives daily life and the economy. It is crucial for folks to understand the context of environmental issues, and this information needs to be accessible to all. Folks on the working waterfront are impacted more by microplastics, so we need to implement solutions that cater to everyone regardless of income and identity. Youth as a generation might be the most invested in climate action because we have the longest to live with the consequences. Our solutions have been the most drastic and intersectional. Bottom line, we will inherit the world of today.”

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Looking ahead, current DISHS ECO-Club members are confident that the group will retain its energy and momentum, driven in part by faculty advisor Ms. Pease. They have visions of establishing a rainwater collection system for the school athletic fields, phasing out disposable water bottles on campus, and creating a greenhouse and garden with a self-sustaining, student-run kitchen. Such a large mission of the ECO-Club is to change the narrative of what is possible and advocate for change. The ECO-Club students have cultivated community conversations and awareness around plastics while empowering folks to make a positive habit shift. By ensuring that all community members are involved in climate solutions we can create equitable change that helps both people and the environment.