February 2022: The Environmental Issue

Page 1

LeJOURNAL Notre Dame de Sion High School | Volume 43 | February 2022



A&E: PAGE 18




what’s inside features

news and sports








News Flash

Girl Gone Green

Spend Green to Drive Green

The Science of Life

Faith Within Nature


Rethinking Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



Enviornmental Evangelists


COP 26 Confronts Climate Change

Eco Eating

cover story



Climate Justice Is Human Justice

Swap for Sustainable



Missouri Scholastic Press Association National Scholastic Press Association International Quill and Scroll Journalism Educators of Metropoliton Kansas City Missouri Journalism Education Association


Le Journal accepts letters to the editors in response to published articles. Letters must be signed, verified, and no longer than 200 words. Letters may be edited for length, grammar, spelling and content. Letters will not be printed if content is obscene, invasive, ecouraging disruption of school and/or is libelous.


Neal/Settle Printing, Grandview MO

02 // LeJournal






news and sports editor



Sofia Aguayo Kate McCarthy

Ella Rogge

Zahra Parsons

Brianna Legette


Elle Simon

Liv Zender Ava Albracht

Sophie Gromowsky

Megan Kelley

Lauren Smith

Photo of the issue SO LONG, FAREWELL Senior Tess Tappan and junior Carolina O’Byrne dance, sing and parade around the stage while performing “So Long, Farewell” alongside the fellow Von Trapp childrenon January 23. “Playing one of my favorite characters alongside my favorite people was such a bittersweet end to my Sion career,” Tappan said. “There is so much talent and support in that group of people, I can’t wait to come back and see what they do in the years to come.” Photo | Megan Kelley



ey guys! Welcome to Le Journal’s first issue of 2022! This year is sure to be a good one, and we hope you guys savor every moment and make the best memories. Make sure to have fun and work hard this year. You got this! We are so excited to finally share this issue with you after tons of hard work. This issue’s theme is all things environment. The cover story on pgs. 14-17 explores the social justices of the climate crisis. Wondering about how Sion is making a direct impact on the environment within our community? Flip to pgs. 8-9 to learn about Green Team leader Kat Riggs and how she cares for the environment and educates others about the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle. If you are more interested in learning about cars, check out pgs. 12-13 to learn about the pros and cons of driving an electric

vehicle. Check out your favorite guitar player Pino Dressman on pgs. 20-21 to learn about her class, Holy in Nature in Art, which explores the Sionian themes of faith and art intertwined with the environment. Additionally, learn about the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” and whether it should be rethought in terms of living a sustainable lifestyle on pgs. 22-23. We hope you enjoy flipping through the first issue of this semester. Remember, if you have any suggestions, comments or other feedback to email us at sofia.aguayo@ndsion.edu and kate. mccarthy@ndsion.edu- we’d be happy to hear what you have to say! Make sure to recycle, treat the environment with care, and live sustainability in order to take care of this earth. We only get one!

student space Lizzy Hoffman

“I have a shop on the app Depop where I sell clothes that I have collected and found from estate sales and thrift stores and old clothes. I sell these clothes to give them a new life. I started my shop three years ago now. My favorite part is knowing that I am playing a part in creating a more sustainable world by giving clothes that would have otherwise ended up thrown away to people who want them.”

Much Love,

keep up with us: @lejournalsion

Use camera to visit lejournallive.com!

March 2021 // 03


Storm Watch Catch up on the latest Sion events that took place in the busy month of January. BY MEGAN KELLEY NEWS & SPORTS EDITOR

Omicron Lockdown

Sound of Sion

Diving Deep in Lessons

After returning from Christmas break, Covid cases were on a rise among students and faculty. Numbers rose to 17 positive cases within four days. Another 43 students were exposed and were in quarantine. Many other students ended up in quarantine. One of the students in quarantine was freshman Charlotte Zender. Zender was online for a while before the whole school went into quarantine. She did not have to log onto Zoom, so she found it a little bit harder to focus. “I feel like being in a classroom itself was very motivating and then other people around you are learning so that it’s motivating,” said Zender. The rise in cases made it hard for many teachers to teach both in person and online students. The Covid Communication department decided it was best for all students to be online for the week of Jan. 10-15.

Many people can recall watching the “Sound of Music” with their parents or friends. Sion put on its own production of it. The first in-person performance was Friday, Jan. 21 at Rockhurst High School.

During the week of Feb. 14-17, students will participate in yet another Deep Dive focusing on how to participate in authentic real world learning experiences. Teachers created their own Deep Dive classes concerning a wide variety of topics. Most will take place locally like French teacher Elizabeth Bono’s KC French Immersion experience, science teacher Kaci Flippo’s habitat design construction for Australian animals at the Kansas City Zoo, or math teachers Mary Humphrey and Lori Moore’s “Escape Your Privileges” Deep Dive, creating escape rooms with Breakout KC. In addition to the Deep Dive classes in town, two classes are traveling outside the state. About twenty students will camp in Big Bend National Park and other traveling students will explore cultural immersion in the American Southwest at the Sonoran Desert.

04 // LeJournal

Photo | Megan Kelley

Senior Olivia Macina played the lead, postulate Maria Rainer. Maria is in the process of becoming a nun at the local Abbey when she is assigned as a governess to the seven Von Trapp children in Austria just before World War II. Performing alongside her as the eldest Von Trapp sister, senior Tess Tappan played Liesl, a teenage girl who falls in love with a local telegram boy turned Nazi. “Liesl has been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid, so it was really special playing her my senior year,” said Tappan. “Performing alongside Olivia has been one of my favorite parts of Sion, and our last show together was very bittersweet.” The young actors and actresses playing the other children were recruited from all around the Kansas City area. Fifth grader Gianna Aguayo played Brigitta Von Trapp, second grader Cecilia Guezuraga played Marta, kindergartener Ivy Baskerville played Gretl, sixth grader Robert Milligan played Fredrich Von Trapp, and sixth grader Julian McFarland played Kurt Von Trapp. “It was incredible. It makes you want to cry because they’re so cute,” Mancina said. “You just see them really come into their own during the musical and they find their way around things.”

Illustration | Emily Lai

This whole weeklong experience has been in the planning process since August, under the guidance of Director of Experiential Learning Kelly Fast. “Over 98% of students are in their first or second course that they chose,” said Fast. “I just hope that students really are openminded and curious and willing to embrace the experience that teachers created.”


Learning from Auschwitz

Competing for the Win

Securing Victory

In honor of the survivors of the Holocaust and Founders’ Day, the entire student body went to visit the Auschwitz Exhibit at Union Station on Thursday Jan. 20th. Sion’s founders Theodore and Alphonse Rattisbone were both Jewish before converting to Catholicism. Each student toured the exhibit which included getting a presentation featuring the many factors and participants of the Holocaust. This presentation discussed perpetrators, bystanders and videos of tha tragic events leading up to the Holocaust. While touring the exhibit, students had headphones connected to listening devices. These devices enhanced the experience by telling the stories of many different Jews and artifacts. Sophomore Kate Wren walked through the exhibit with her friend sophomore Sophie Saxton. “I came out pretty weighed down from the exhibit,” Wren said.

The swim and dive team made their way down to the Mizzou Aquatic Center on Jan. 14. The team performed well, placing 25th out of 45 teams in the competition. After arriving at the complex, the team jumped in the pool to start their warm ups. When they finished warming up, the team put on their tech suits, which are knee length swim suits that are tight on the body, and got ready to compete. Many of our swimmers performed well individually, including senior Grace Townsend who took 15th in the finals for the 100 meter freestyle. The 200 meter freestyle relay team consisting of Townsend, sophomore Maddi Adkins, sophomore Ava Townsend and freshman Maeve Glennon placed 8th in the championship final. The divers also performed well with sophomore Maggie Axtell placing 23rd out of 50, and senior Lydia Poe placing 24th out of 50. “So Maggie and I both made the first cut and it took forever. It was rough, but we got there,” Poe said. “We did our dives but they cut after five this time. That’s when Maggie and I got cut, but Maggie was super super close to making it to the next cut.”

On Tuesday Jan. 4th, the basketball team went head to head with our rivals, the St. Teresa’s Stars. The theme of the game was “Shrek” and students decked out in their ogre gear headed to STA to cheer on the Storm. Every game against the Stars is a big deal. Students get no homework nights, intended for them to go watch the game. Many students will go to the games dressed up in their gear. The lead was going back and forth between the Stars and the Storm. During the game the team has to rely on each other to do their best. Junior Makalya Herbert has the faith in her team that is needed.

Photo | Sophie Gromowsky Photo | Zahra Parsons

This saddening Holocaust exhibit brings out the truth in what happened at Auschwitz and to the Jews who were persecuted. Many of the artifacts were collected from the death camp after the camp was liberated. Philosophy teacher, Dr. Morey Williams played a big role in helping to plan this field trip. “This exhibit has toured all over the United States, and they’ve actually said it’s the most powerful at Union Station because of the layout,” said Williams. “I think it uses objects and artifacts from Auschwitz to provoke thought and highlight the stories of survivors.”

Photo | Gracie Orf

Senior Elise Stringer competed in the breaststroke event. Along with swimming in a correct position, there is a correct mindset to go along with it. “There is a mental state you have to be in,” Stringer said.

“I feel usually confident with my team that we’ll play well together,” said Herbert. After a hard fought game, the Storm came out with a close victory of 42-38. Freshman Grace Renners scored the most points on varsity. Following the game, the team celebrated with the fans in the seats. Senior Anna Sheedy reflected on how the game ended. “We ran over to the fans after the game and it was really exciting,” said Sheedy.

February 2022 // 05


the science of



As issues surrounding climate change and the natural world continue to escalate, the impact and work of the environmental science field is becoming more important than ever.


hrough research in biology, geology, and ecology, environmental science explores the many ways in which human beings impact the natural world. Environmental science arose from the fields of natural history and medicine during the Enlightenment period, and has since grown into an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental structure. It also incorporates social sciences to provide an interpretation of human relationships with the natural world, and how those interactions can be reconciled after decades of research-proven damage. The United States has several different government operations that venture into the field of environmental science and research ways to improve our sustainability efforts as a nation. One of the most prominent of these institutions is the US Environmental Protection Agency. Founded by former President Richard Nixon in 1970, the US EPA conducts experimental research, which then translates into a national legal standard in environmental laws, with consultation from state governments and populations. They have 10 regional offices and 27 laboratories nationwide, which also perform research locally in order to pass laws and regulations in the best interest of the environment. Some of the protective measures that they have passed include the Radiation Protection Program, which works to control radioactive waste, guides naturally occurring radioactive elements, and provides protection from nuclear accidents, and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which works to protect water from contaminants by point sourcing water discharge areas and sewer systems. Beyond the federal level, environmental scientists all across the nation are continually faced with new issues and areas of work. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an 8% projected increase in jobs in the environmental science field over the next 10 years. Typical entry-level education is a Bachelor’s degree, however Master’s and Doctoral degrees are normally required for extensive research positions. According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, successful environmental scientists must have an array of analytical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills in order to be able to collect and interpret cohesive data, and then present their findings to a variety of audiences, including in research reports. There are also a multitude of fields that environmental scientists can pursue, including marine biology, climatology, engineering, environmental law, and molecular biology, all of which may require different levels of education and experience. With such a broad field of study comes many possible opportunities to fulfill.

06 // LeJournal


WHAT’S POSSIBLE Marine biologists study the behavior, health, and processes of marine species, and the diseases and environmental conditions that affect them. Their research typically involves conducting species inventories, testing and monitoring organisms, preserving specimens, and tracking movement and distribution of marine populations. Some marine biologists specialize in biotechnology, meaning that they investigate adaptations of marine species and how they can be applied to industrial processes. Marine biologists often work for MARINE BIOLOGIST federal government agencies, private research labs, consulting firms, or aquariums.



Climatologists examine patterns in weather over a certain period of time in order to interpret future weather patterns and their effects on the natural world. Their main area of study is global climate change, for which they conduct different means of research, such as studying data and maps reports, using computer models to predict patterns, gathering data from weather stations and satellites, analyzing historical climate information, and preparing report briefings for industrial, corporate, and government agencies. Climatologists are also able to contribute to discussions on a global scale through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Environmental engineering combines the fundamental principles of biology and chemistry in order to uncover solutions to the most pressing issues threatening the environment, such as waste reduction, improved recycling, and air pollution management. Environmental engineers must be able to conduct and review investigative eco-reports, design and facilitate projects, analyze scientific data, and advise corporate and government agencies on important decisions. Specific facets of work are often determined by the worker’s geographic location and its respective issues.


Environmental lawyers engage with environmental rights and laws, and work on projects relating to broader environmental issues, such as sustainability, energy, and climate change. The ability to analyze, negotiate, and communicate are largely beneficial skills when entering this career path. Environmental lawyers are typically employed by individuals, corporations, or government agencies, and their responsibilities include analyzing data from cases and trials, advocating for environmental regulations, assessing impact and damage from a certain event, and communicating how certain policies affect the environment.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST Molecular biology explores the structure and activity of plants, animals, and people at a molecular level. Molecular biologists work with different types of DNA and RNA to examine different issues. Some of their work includes developing new methods to diagnose and treat diseases, detecting and identifying pollutants, genetically engineer crops, study genetic variations and expressions, and report findings through presentations. Molecular biologists most often work in labs, and are typically employed by hospitals, private agencies, government institutions, or pharmaceutical companies.


Born and raised in Uttarakhand, India, Vandana Shiva is an environmental scientist and activist, food sovereignty advocate, and ecofeminist. She is a leader of the International Forum on Globalization, which works against the negative environmental effects of globalization. Shiva has multiple degrees, and has written over 20 books. In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award, which celebrates exemplary advocacy.


Born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Rachel Carson spent the majority of her career fighting against synthetic pesticide production. She is known for her two books, Silent Spring and The Edge of the Sea, which influenced the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas was an environmental scientist, journalist, and feminist. She is known for her advocacy against drainage of the Everglades for land development, and her book, The Everglades: River of Grass, published in 1947. It emphasized the value and importance of the Everglades as a river, instead of a waste swamp. After a long career, Douglas passed away at the age of 108 in Miami, Florida.

February 2022 // 07


Girl Gone Green Throughout her childhood, Senior Kat Riggs was taught how to care for the environment. Now, as president of Green Team, she works with students to educate others about the importance living a sustainable lifestyle. BY LIV ZENDER WEB EDITOR IN CHIEF

photo submitted by Kat Riggs


enior Kat Riggs took a deep breath and cleared her throat. She ran through her mental list of points to make and things to say, stood up, and addressed her club. Riggs joined Green Team her freshman year as the only underclassmen. Little did she know that a year later she would be standing in front of the same club, but with more members and as the president. As Riggs transitioned from a shy participant to a strong leader with goals for the club and the school, her leadership skills were put to the test. Being president of the Green

08 // LeJournal

Team club was Rigg’s first real taste of leadership, but not of her passion towards environmental advocacy. “I took a risk with taking on that role,” Riggs said. “I’d never done anything like that before…[the club] has gotten a lot bigger which is really exciting. And this year my sister Ellie and Lauren Shaw are co-vice presidents.” Riggs was raised in a home focused on the importance of preserving and appreciating nature while working to reduce one’s environmental footprint. From her parents encouraging her

to spend time outside, Riggs quickly gained a passion for the outdoors and followed her parents footsteps as environmentalists. Another influence on Riggs’s passion for the environment was watching her dad’s performances as Eco-Elvis. Eco-Elvis is a version of Elvis Presley who performs environmentally-focused versions of Elvis Presley’s top hits. Listening to her dad’s aka Eco-Elvis’s songs as a child inspired her to maintain her advocacy for the good of the environment. “I feel like when I doubt the importance of my work [with Green

feature YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR far left

Sophomores Lily Dillon and Violet Gowin, left, designed posters to hang up around the school with intention of spreading awareness about the environmental effects of fast fashion. photo submitted | Kat Riggs


Senior Kat Riggs, middle, presents during the second club meeting of the year. Students used this time to brainstorm environment-focused event ideas for the year


Senior Bridgette Conner designs a handmade recycling bin to place somewhere around the school. The winning team recieved a prize for best-designed bin.

Team], I’ll hear his songs and it keeps me on track,” Riggs said. “It reminds me of why I care.” A little bit of help can go a long way. Riggs volunteered several strategies for anybody and everybody wishing to reduce their impact on the Earth. Simple tasks such as carpooling instead of driving alone or using reusable bags at the grocery store instead of single use plastic bags. Washcloths instead of makeup wipes. Thrifting instead of shopping fast fashion. The list goes on. As a family, the Riggs’s have a couple more strategies that they implement in their everyday lives. While not always the most convenient, these strategies have proven worthy of their time due to the lesser environmental impact. Instead of buying regular shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and dish soap that use single-use plastics from the store, the Riggs’s use Soap Refill Station KC in Waldo to refill large quantities of these soaps into large containers, to later be divvied up at home “We go to Soap Refill Station KC in Waldo,” Riggs said. “They have laundry detergent, hand soap, and other low waste options. We refill these big containers… then we empty them into little containers.” As with any leadership position, Riggs has led her group through both wins and losses over the past three years. One of their more successful ventures was a fundraiser during the Australian megafires that took place from June 2019 to May 2020.

In efforts to help both the burning forest, dying animals, and hardworking firefighters, Green Team held a fundraiser breakfast that raised over $200. These funds were later split and equally distributed to an animal refuge organization and to an organization dedicated to helping the firefighters risking their lives to put out the wildfires. Additionally, in the spring of 2021 Green Team helped organize an interfaith Earth Day celebration centered around spreading tips and tricks for helping the environment in one’s everyday life combined with the concept that different faiths emphasize the importance of sustainability in different ways. For the celebration, Green Team partnered with students from Hyman Brand, the nearby Jewish day school, to learn about how Judaism teaches about sustainability. “I talked a bit about how the Catholic Faith teaches about sustainability and care for the Earth,” Riggs said. “And then he (Tyler Johnson, Hyman Brand student) talked about how the Jewish faith also teaches about sustainability.” A previous venture that Green Team had been very hopeful about was creating a compost pile for the waste created by student’s lunches, an effort that would help increase Sion’s sustainability. Unfortunately, creating a compost pile is easier said than done. There are necessary steps to follow very precisely during the composting process, including turning or stirring the compost for a significant amount

of time every week. If done incorrectly, the compost will start to rot, which is a health concern. Once these facts were established, Green Team explored the idea of exporting Sion’s waste to a nearby compost plant, but this service costs an additional monthly sum of money. According to co-vice president senior Lauren Shaw, another roadblock Green Team deals with is related to time constraints. “The amount of time that we have [causes difficulties],” Shaw said. “[We meet] once every two weeks for 30 minutes so we can only do little activities and small discussions. As a senior, Riggs has spent the last several months exploring colleges and figuring out where her home next fall will be. While she has yet to decide where she will be attending college next semester, she is planning on majoring in environmental studies which combines her love for conservation and environmentalism with social justice, two topics she is very passionate about. Riggs plans to pass the role of Green Team president on to her younger sister sophomore Ellie Riggs. When asked about her sisters involvement in Green Team over the past four years, Ellie expresses what a joy it has been to watch her sister gain confidence in her leadership for something she is passionate about. “Its been really fun to watch her because she’s really passionate about it,” Ellie Riggs said. “She gets excited doing it, it makes her happy, and she wants to continue doing it in the future. Its been really cool to watch.”

February 2022// 09


COP 26 CONFRONTS CLIMATE CRISIS COP 26, a meeting of world leaders, produced the Glasgow Climate Pact, an agreement to help confront climate change. BY LAUREN SMITH COPY EDITOR


OP 26 is the 26th meeting of members representing almost 200 countries organized by the United Nations to create agreements on climate change. COP26, abbreviation for the Conference of Parties, kicked off October 31, 2021 lasting two weeks and was hosted by the United Kingdom held in Glasgow, Scotland. Many topics discussed were initiated during the wellknown Paris Climate Agreement; the result of the COP that took place in 2015, which initiated many countries to come to COP26 with plans and actions ready to propose and enact. Though like many assignments, not everyone completed their homework to the best of their abilities with many submitting pledges that didn’t go farther than their previous ones. The number that seemed to be the center of the conference was 1.5° C. Keeping global warming at 1.5° C, above pre-industrial levels, which as research has shown anything higher will be catastrophic. The United Nations calculates that these plans put the world on track for 2.5° C of warming by the end of the century. That is better than the 4° C trajectory the world was on before the Paris Agreement was struck, but is still extremely dangerous.

10 // LeJournal

COP26 Commitments @COP26 (2021, November 13). This tweet from from the COP26 twitter celebrates the finalization of the Glasgow Climate Pact. Reminding us that the work done at the conference will be succesfull only if action is taken immediatly.

news Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Motley spoke on this: “Two degrees is a death sentence for the people of Dominica, and Fiji, for the people of Kenya, and Mozambique…We do not want that dreaded death sentence and we’ve come here today to say ‘try harder.’” This emphasized to leaders around the world the importance of achieving 1.5° C and the deadly consequences that would result if this does not happen. 151 countries agreed to achieve 1.5° C with climate plans formally known as nationally determined contributions, or NDC’s for short. Many countries that did not recognize the severity have pledged to come to the COP next year with legitimate NDC’s to set stronger 2030 emission reduction targets. An obstacle during the COP’s is that rich developed countries such as the United States, China, India, and parts of the EU that contribute the most to the severity of climate change call the shots. Even though the negative repercussions we are already seeing from climate change primarily impact poor developing countries who don’t get an equal say at the COP. Rich countries failed to show up with a 100 billion annual climate funding they had promised to vulnerable countries to transition to renewable energy and adapt to climate change. Questioning their reliability after a pattern of failing to commit to meet the goals. The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, welcomed the attendees to Glasgow by comparing climate change to fictional Scotland native James Bond: “Who generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative film strapped to a doomsday device…. And we are roughly in the same position…Except that the tragedy is, this is not a movie, and the doomsday device is real.” Johnson’s quote has strong

UK PM Boris Johnson

rhetoric about the severity of the climate crisis, but this is not reflected in the actions of major countries like the EU. Their words are not enough and the eagerness of his speech is not accompanied by the eagerness of direct action. The decisions made at the summit were compiled into the Glasgow Climate Pact. The difficulty is everyone has to agree on every word of it and that comes down to singular words. The COP was extended another day to reach final agreements. In the final hours on the last day before a final agreement a representative from India rejected the phrase “phasing out coal.” This was changed to “phasing down coal,” and shortly after the pact was signed. The tackling of fossil fuel is a solution to ensuring 1.5° C and needs to be more enforced. This is a step in the right direction with this being the first document from a COP since the 1990s to include the words fossil fuels. The outcomes of the Glasgow Climate Pact include a significant headway on a wide range of agreements surrounding climate change, but it is not enough. Many developing countries were not pleased with the agreement hoping more would have come out of the COP, but acknowledge it is better than not reaching an agreement. Ultimately though these are important decisions, taking action will be what brings us one step closer to confronting the climate crisis. Let’s hope next year’s agreements improve and include financial commitments to keep 1.5° C alive by all. Sir David Attenborough’s speech reminds us of the power we have to change: “We are, after all, the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth. If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.”

Sir David Attenborough

Barbados PM Mia Motley

February 2022 // 11




Electric Cars seem to be the way of a more sustainable future, but just like gas-powered cars they have their ups and downs.


he year is 2035, and car dealers such as General Motors and Volvo have stopped selling gasoline-powered cars, and swapped them out with electric cars. On your way home from work, you stop at the grocery store and plug in your electric vehicle while you go and shop, then you come back to a fully charged car. Having to wait in line to fill up your tank at a gas station is a thing of the past. Electric cars seem to be the wave of the future, but how green are electric cars? In the United States, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, most of which come from cars and trucks. With the increase in advertisement in recent years of electric vehicles from a range of dealerships, you question is it worth the switch from your traditional combustion engine to a battery-powered car? In broad terms, most electric cars sold today are generally more climate-friendly with lower emissions than gas-powered vehicles, but there are implications on natural resources used to create these vehicles and the resources and energy needed to keep them charged. The creation of the batteries that power most electric cars contain raw materials such as cobalt and lithium, whose mining has been linked to their own environmental harm and human rights concerns. Cobalt, in particular, produces hazardous chemicals, which, according to the National Library of Medicine, exposure to cobalt has been detected in communities near mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC is where 70% of the world’s cobalt is mined, a large sum of which is under inhumane conditions where many children are working with improper tools and are being exposed to toxic chemicals. On the other hand, the extraction of lithium from salt flats in Australia and areas surrounding the Andes Mountains uses large amounts of groundwater. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the water required for batteries to manufacture electric cars is approximately 50% more water-intensive than the creation of a combustion engine.

12 // LeJournal

Though the creation of the electric vehicle is less environmentally friendly than that of a conventional car, there are new ways being discovered to reduce this. With the increase of electric vehicles comes new methods in producing them, such as attempting to recycle the batteries from electric vehicles. Though the creation is more impactful on the earth the toll on the environment throughout the lifetime of the car will ultimately be less harmful than that of a gas-powered car. To ensure you are buying the most environmentally friendly car, you can try to buy a used electric car to avoid the production of another battery. How green your electric car is also depends on how the electricity is made. It all depends on the amount of coal burned to charge the electric field that is powering the charge of your vehicle. If the goal of electric cars is to be emission-free, they need to start with electric grids. It also depends on your location. For instance, in Pittsburgh and many parts of the midwest, plugging your car into a coalheavy grid could emit more air pollution. The other issue with charging your electric vehicle is the accessibility of charging stations. The more accessible these charging stations are, the more persuaded people become to purchase electric cars. The good thing is that over the last decade across the United States hundreds of coal plants have closed and shifted to more sustainable options. With electric cars costing more upfront, meaning they are only available to those who can afford them, it is difficult for them to be accessible to those of all incomes. With the upfront cost higher you generally have a lower overall cost compared to a gas car which requires more maintenance. The future of electric cars is here, and though the process to create these alternatives and to charge them is difficult, with an increase of them comes more solutions to make them even more affordable and environmentally friendly. So, you may spend more green to drive green, but it is a smart investment over time.



PROS Environmentally Friendly

Electric cars produce zero tailpipes emissions and run quieter than conventional vehicles, which means reduced noise pollution.

Low Maintenance

Though the initial price of an electric car is costly there are fewer moving parts than a gas-powered car requiring less maintenance like no more oil changes.


An analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that charging a vehicle was more cost-effective than filling up at the pump across 50 major American cities. With the price of gas fluctuating, it’s costly to fill up often, and avoiding it will save you money over time.

Good performance

Electric vehicles get the best performance right from the start; acceleration may be different from a petrol or diesel car, but they are still fast and offer an exciting performance right from the start. Electric motors allow for faster acceleration and better mileage.

CONS Higher Cost

Electric vehicles are more expensive to buy than gas cars since they cost more to produce.

Limiting Charging Network

Few fast-charging stations are available especially outside of urban areas.

Range Limitations

Electric cars offer a 125-185 mile range that can recover in the city with a regenerative drive, but it drains if only on the highway. Making it difficult to plan a road trip with limited charging stations (Which are easy to find with a quick google search.)

Battery Life

Over time the battery loses its power capacity and after ten years, it usually goes down to just 40% of the total capacity. So, you will have to end up purchasing a new battery which is costly.

February 2022 // 13

cover story.



Photos | Pexels

14 // LeJournal

cover story

ate Justice is

Human Justice Although the climate crisis seems like a problem for the distant future, it is here and it is affecting the most vulnerable of our communities. BY FEATURES EDITOR ELLE SIMON & PRINT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SOFIA AGUAYO


or decades, scientists have predicted that the continuous mass burning of fossil fuels would have future consequences that would soon take effect and exponentially increase in severity as time went on. As studies and evidence show, they are correct. Extreme weather patterns. Melting glaciers. Rising sea levels. A decrease in wildlife and biodiversity. According to European Commission, these are just a few of the impending changes the earth and the lives on it are facing if humans continue to burn fossil fuels and live unsustainable lifestyles. Everyone today has heard of the daunting phrases of “global warming” and “climate change,” but when were these phrases invented and when did they begin to be used so commonly that the average person now knows exactly what they mean? Firstly, when did it all begin? Here is a brief review of some major marks of the history of global climate change. According to BBC News, the greenhouse effect was discovered and named in 1861 by scientist John Tyndall. By 1927, carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning had reached one billion tons per year. In 1938, it was shown that temperatures and CO2 concentrations had risen over the previous century. In 1989, the UK Prime Minister warned the UN about the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and called for a global treaty on climate change. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) third assessment report found strong evidence that the main cause of this warming was due to humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution. In 2012, arctic sea ice reached a minimum extent of square kilometers setting a record for the smallest summer cover since measurements began in 1979. Since all of these domino effect events began all this time ago, where are the consequences and effects of these daunting facts? Research shows that they are weaved in the lives of the underprivileged and less fortunate people in not only developing countries around the world, but also in some cities here in the United States. “I think we just need to open our eyes and try to see the world differently,” sophomore Gracie Orf said. One of the reasons there is such a pressing problem concerning global pollution is because of the neglect of the problem in developed countries, which is where

it matters the most. In an article by The Guardian about pollution in developing countries, there is a man depicted standing atop a hill of cloth and plastics with a fire burning at the bottom. “It’s normal to get some coughing and breathing problems because of the smoke,” the Tanzanian man said. The pile of trash, which burns 24 hours a day in Tanzania, is something no one in a developed country could ever imagine seeing in their neighborhood. Sadly, these sights are daily occurrences in the lives of millions of underprivileged people living in developing countries who have no way of fighting the production and consumption of this waste. “In Michigan, they have this big dump of trash, and it’s in a low income, predominantly black community,” junior Katherine Pineda said. If it is not “normal to get some coughing and breathing problems” because of pollution while living in the United States, the top pollution producer, why is it happening to people across the ocean who have no say or control over it? According to the World Economic Forum, between an estimated 400,000 and one million people die in developing countries every year from diseases caused by mismanagement of waste. The source also states that “many developed countries export their post-consumer plastic waste.” This waste makes up over one-tenth of what is thrown away, and we typically pass a huge amount of this waste onto poorer countries who are less capable of managing it than our well-developed country. According to Climate Policy Watcher, several developing countries who receive the waste from the developed countries do not even have the infrastructure and management in place to manage their own garbage, much less the garbage of the top waste producers in the world. Bryan Walsh, Time magazine’s energy and climate writer, said “One of the surest signs that you’re in a developing country is the trash beneath your feet.” The country in which people are born should not dictate whether they might have respiratory problems or other diseases because of the overly comfortable and unsustainable way of living in developed countries. As much as we’d like to think that climate change is something that only affects developing countries, thousands of Americans are affected by climate change every year. A Washington Post analysis of disaster

February 2022 // 15

cover story.

Have you noticed a direct relationship between lower income communities and pollution in the country? Out of 103 students polled

19% NO


54% YES

declarations from the federal government found that 40% of Americans live in areas hit by climate disasters. However, the changing and extreme weather patterns is not the only issue that climate change has caused for the country. Most states east of the Mississippi River have at least one power plant located within their borders. Power plants emit nitrogen oxides which lead to the creation of smog along with gas emissions from cars. Smog contributes heavily to the unhealthy air quality that is experienced by so many people in the United States. The American Lung Association’s 2021 “State of the Air” study found that over 135 million people in the United States are living in areas without safe, clean air. New Jersey continually receives an “F” for its air quality from the ALA as smog is found almost everywhere. “Cancer Alley” is an 85 mile stretch from New Orleans to Baton Rouge located in the River Parishes of Louisiana. Residents of “Cancer Alley” suffer immensely from the polluted air that they breathe from day to day. They have high cancer rates, are continuously diagnosed with respiratory issues, and the list goes on. “Out of every ten households there’s a prospect of one or two people that have died of cancer,” Terry Frazier, a resident of St. Gabriel, Louisiana said in an interview with ProPublica. Unfortunately, poor air quality isn’t the only climate consequence that affects people around the United States. Flint, Michigan residents have been fighting for clean and safe drinking

water since April, 2014. Flint’s water has been tainted with lead ever since the city switched to the Flint River as the city’s drinking water source. This exposure to lead brings along kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious health issues. These are just a handful of the states, cities and people that have been negatively impacted by climate change and pollution. According to 103 students polled, 35% said they feel like they are personally being affected by climate change in Kansas City, and 32% said maybe. According to Greenability Magazine, Kansas City is the fifth city to be most impacted by climate change. This ranking is due to a high number of abnormal weather conditions including major heat waves, fewer cold snaps, a later winter, high annual temperatures and about twice as frequent heavy rains which increase risk of flooding. “We certainly do see disruptions in our weather and patterns,” AP Environmental Science teacher Amy Vandenbrul said. According to Climate Central, the city will see 20 more days above 90 degrees than its rural counterparts. Dennis Murphey, chief environmental officer for Kansas City, Missouri, in Greenability Magazine said that energy, water, local food systems and public health will be the largest issues that arrive as these extreme weather patterns increase. Murphey took note that more people died of extreme heat than tornadoes these past few years. According to Climate Action of Kansas City, Missouri, the city is generating nearly 18 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per person, more than three times the world average, and two more tons than the national average. According to the article, the average individual carbon footprint needs to drop under 2 tons per year by 2050 to have the best chance of avoiding a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures. As one would expect, the most vulnerable and susceptible to these changes are the elderly, sick, and low-income residents, especially those who live in the urban core. “If you go down to the West Bottoms, you can see a lot of factory operations there,” Vandenbrul said. “It’s not a huge residential part of the city, but there are other areas within the inner city.” Kansas City adopted the Climate Protection Plan in 2008 which has had several resolutions added to it since then. According to the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s website’s article on the KC Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan, the City Council passed resolution 200005

Environmental Charities Greenpeace is a global network composed of independent campaigning organizations who use peaceful protesting and communication to address global environmental issues and promote sustainable solutions. They have a commitment to environmental justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, and they challenge a system of privilege and power that has hurt the environment thus far.

16 // LeJournal

The Clean Air Task Force “builds momentum for solutions based on scientific evidence, intellectual integrity, and pragmatism.” CAFT drives change forward through policies and innovation. Their goal is to accomplish zero-emissions energy, waste, agricultural, and forest management systems by 2050. They are determined to meet the rising demand for energy in a sustainable way.

The Sierra Club is one of the most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. Started in 1892 by preservationist John Muir, the organization now has chapters in all 50 states. Their goals include striving for 100% clean and renewable energy, protecting lands, water, wildlife and air, and protecting all people, especially the most vulnerable who already feel the impacts of climate change.

which added to the 2008 Climate Protection Plan including new goals for greenhouse gas reductions. The Plan consists of four stages: Listen & Learn, Collaborate & Explore, Prioritize & Align and Mobilize. The city is currently working in the third stage, Prioritize & Align, and the goal of the entire plan is to achieve “a carbon neutral, equity focused, and resilient Kansas City by 2040.” The overall problem of global climate change is one that can no longer be kept ignored. As demonstrated around the globe today, the direct effects of pollution are heavily affecting the most vulnerable people and creating more health problems. So how can we make a difference? How can we help turn back the ticking clock on climate change before it gets too late? Despite sometimes feeling small in an issue as big as this one, you can still make your voice heard. Contact local officials and push them to make climate-positive laws in the community. Advocate for policies and changes that will help the world move in the opposite direction from the climate crisis. Continue to learn and educate yourself and the people around you on our changing climate and its causes. Learn about how you can help fix some of the social injustices and environmental problems that are caused because of this crisis. Embrace sustainability and put effort into making small changes in your daily life that would positively impact the earth. Finally, donate to charities that are known to make a positive impact. These charities are doing amazing work that helps us fight global climate change. “If we just watch the way that we live individually, if everybody does that, then that makes a difference,” Orf said. The climate crisis is hanging over our heads and although we may feel like we aren’t doing enough to help, making small changes by ourselves and working as a global society to make the big ones, we will be able to help turn back some time on the ticking clock. With the cooperation of people everywhere, change can be made. When asked how everyday people can help in this fight against climate change, Vandenbrul said her favorite motto is to “think global and act local.”

The World Wildlife Fund strives to help communities conserve the natural resources they need, transform the economic world towards sustainability, and protect and restore the habitat of species around the world. WWF combines conservation science with their over 5 million global partners to achieve their six ambitious goals; climate, food, freshwater, forests, oceans, and wildlife.

Vic Barrett is a 20-year-old Honduran-American college student who became involved in climate activism in high school because of the firsthand experience he had with climate change when he saw the major destruction of superstorm Hurricane Sandy at 15 years old. He was involved in Global Kids which develops leadership skills in youth, became a Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education and also spoke at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change.

cover story

Boyan Slat, who hails from the Netherlands, is the founder of The Ocean Cleanup. He currently leads a team of around 80 people and spends most of his time researching, inventing, and engineering technological solutions to global issues. In September 2018, Slat launched the first deep ocean cleanup system, called System 001. He and his team have since launched System 002 in 2021.

Xiye Bastida is a Mexican-Chilean climate activist. She is one of the main leaders of “Fridays for Future New York City,” an international movement in which students skip Friday classes to attend demonstrations demanding government action on climate change. Bastida is also a major voice for indigenous and immigrant visibility in climate activism.

Greta Thunberg is 19 years old and is the most well known youth environmental activist. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Thunberg has been named one of Time’s 100 most influential people as well as being the magazine’s youngest Person of the Year. Thunberg is also a three time Nobel Prize nominee for her activism.

February 2022 // 17




Eating plant-based is better for our growing population and can even be delicious.


lot of the time when we hear a person is vegan or vegetarian, we automatically assume that they must just love animals so much or that they are on some sort of crazy diet like Freelee the banana girl. Up until a few years ago, I was mystified as to why anyone would ever want to sacrifice something so delectable as cheese, ice cream or steak, just for the sake of animals. However, there is a far larger argument for eating a plant-based diet besides the animals because, to be honest, there is no sum of money you could pay me to even get near a chicken, those birds are horrifying. To best understand why eating plant based is beneficial, we first need to understand why conserving water is important. According to the Institute of Physics, one third of the world’s population suffers from fresh water scarcity, and agriculture accounts for the usage of 90% of global freshwater consumption. With a growing population,

scientists have conjectured that by 2050 food production will have to double in order to meet the needs of the population. In the future it will be even more important to conserve our freshwater resources. Keeping this in mind, let’s compare tofu and beef, two calorie-dense, high-protein foods. It takes 302 gallons of water to produce one pound of tofu, whereas it requires anywhere between 2000 to 8000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, according to studies conducted by UC Davis. If everyone were to reduce consumption of animal products, we would reduce our water consumption by at least half, according to UCLA Sustainability. Not only would we be able to feed more mouths in doing so, we would be able to preserve countless irreplaceable, beautiful habitats. Read ahead to learn about some local places to eat and recipes so that you can help preserve our Earth’s resources, too.

Photo | Pexels

Photo | Pexels



From @faithsfresh on TikTok

From @faithsfresh on TikTok

This recipe is not only vegan, it is also delicious and foolproof. When compared to my mom’s tomato cream sauce, my family preferred this simple yet delicious recipe. I like to serve it with Banza chickpea pasta to give me some extra protein topped with lots of red pepper flakes. Trust me, if there is one vegan dinner recipe you need to incorporate into your weekly rotation, it is this one.

Another TikTok discovery, these are the best baked oats I have ever tasted, and I am an oatmeal fanatic. Whenever I am having a bad morning I turn to this recipe to cheer me up and set the tone for the rest of my day.

Makes 3-4 servings Ingredients: 1/2 cup soaked cashews* 1 16 oz. can of Tomato Sauce 1 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 Tbsp dried basil 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder 1 tsp salt Red pepper flakes to taste Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth Serve over pasta of choice and top with red pepper flakes, if desired. *This can be done by adding 1/2 cup of cashews to 1 cup of boiling water and letting it soak for 15 minutes. Don’t forget to remove excess water.

18 // LeJournal

Ingredients: 1/2 cup oats 1/2 banana 1 Tbsp maple syrup 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 1/2 cup almond milk 1 spoonful of peanut butter Dairy-free chocolate chips to taste 1. Combine oats, banana, almond milk, baking powder, maple syrup and cocoa powder in a blender. Blend until mainly smooth. 2. Pour blender mixture into an oven safe container such as a ramekin. Top with chocolate chips and peanut butter. 3. Bake in the oven at 400° F for 35-40 minutes or microwave for 2 minutes and 30 seconds on high.

A&E Ruby Jean’s serves up smoothies and juices that are tasty even in the coldest weather. Photos | Ava Albracht

top: Pirate’s Bones Burgers’ “Beet Burger” could be mistaken for the real deal based off looks.

bottom: Mud Pie houses a cozy environment filled with delicious desserts and breakfast items.


Although not completely plant-based, the vast majority of Ruby Jean’s menu is plant-powered with its claim to fame being, well, juice. The citrus detox containing grapefruit, orange, lemon, and ginger packed a punch and cleared my sinuses in the best tasting way possible. The Gigi Splash with strawberries, orange, red apple, pear, lemon and pineapple had the perfect amount of sweetness to tang ratio and was far more delicious than any bottled orange or apple juice on the shelves of the supermarket. Unfortunately, the Berry Strong power shake fell flat and was the worst tasting item of my vegan food escapade. The beverage was completely overpowered by the protein powder which caused it to have an artificial vanilla flavor and unbearably gritty texture, not to mention it was $8.50, which is a steep price for a lackluster smoothie. I would advise anyone to stick to the fruit and vegetable forward items because no matter how important protein is for the gains, no one should have to experience that gritty texture and artificial flavor.


Stepping into Mud Pie Bakery’s 39th street location, I automatically felt a sense of comfort wash over me. I’m not sure if it was because it is located in a darling yellow house or because of the smell of the baked goods wafting, but it was a welcome feeling on a cold winter’s day. The lemon blueberry muffin stole the show, with a sugary crust on top and dense yet freshtasting dough, it was the dark horse of the order. The orange cinnamon roll was also something that I would order again because the orange was not overpowering and the dough was the perfect texture. The kolache, which is a stuffed dough, left something to be desired. I wished that there was a little more flavor in the dough and perhaps more jalapeño to kick it up a notch. The funky aftertaste of the mini apple pie was also less than ideal, but it was still very cute and reminded me of those Tiny Kitchen videos on Snapchat subscription stories. I would highly recommend this spot to anyone looking for a cute place to catch up with a friend or do some work while enjoying some delectable desserts.

PIRATE’S BONES BURGERS When I first heard of Pirate’s Bones Burgers, I thought of black, grey and skulls; however, walking up to the storefront I was greeted by a vibrant purple and glowing green that in no way matched my expectations. My self-professed meat-loving father and I decided on the Classic burger that consisted of an impossible meat patty, housemade aioli, pickles and lettuce, cajun fries and the beet burger. The cajun fries topped with green onions were crispy, flavorful and reminiscent of Five Guys cajun fries. The classic burger had the perfect balance of flavor with a meaty patty, tangy aioli, and crispy lettuce. Lastly, the beet burger was not so much a burger, but more of a mass of shredded beets accompanied with avocado, lettuce, and sauce. The beet flavor was not overwhelming, which was definitely appreciated, but I would consider this burger more of a veggie sandwich. The price of the burgers ranged from $11 to $14, which is more than double the cost of Town Topic hamburgers just down the street. In my opinion, it was worth it for both environmental and social reasons, and since it is also a minority owned business. Pirate’s Bones Burgers surpassed my preconceived notions of what a vegan burger tastes like and was a fun excuse to be downtown and appreciate the murals and stores that surround it.





MUD PIE (39th St)

1615 W 39th St Kansas City, MO 64111

MUD PIE (95th St)

7319 W 95th St Overland Park, KS 66212

RUBY JEAN’S (Troost)

3000 Troost Ave Kansas City, MO 64109

RUBY JEAN’S (51st St) 301 E 51st St Kansas City, MO 64112


2000 Main St Kansas City, MO 64108

February 2022 // 19


The Holy in Nature and Art class explores the Sionian themes of faith and art intertwined with the environment. BY BRIANNA LEGETTE A&E EDITOR


he sun shines on the students’ faces, as they observe a plant or tree. After instructions, the students open their sketchbooks and draw the nature in front of them, feeling ever so connected to the environment and their faith. In the school year of 2019-2020, a former course called “Discovering the Holy in Art, Literature, Film and Music” was split into two electives, one examining music, the other examining nature. Director of Campus Ministry Stephanie PinoDressman was invited to develop the Holy in Nature and Art class. “I’m healthier if I am outside or have plants around me. I can grow closer to God by being close to nature,” Pino-Dressman said. “My mental health and spiritual health are connected to the environment.” The Holy in Nature and Art class focuses on connecting nature with God, by making collages and sketching, and a number of other art projects. Pino-Dressman expressed that she wants her students to grow in appreciation for nature and want to protect it, saying that we are all co-creators with God. Pino-Dressman hopes students will recognize the importance of greenery in their lives. “I had to take more notice of (the greenery), because that was the class that made me appreciate it more because I had that space to kind of reflect on it a little more.” senior Elizabeth Nordhus said. Nordhus feels that the class did a great job of getting the students to notice and appreciate nature, as well as tie in the

20 // LeJournal

spiritual and artistic side of nature. She felt that the class itself was reflective and meditative. “It was really fun when we got to go outside. Because a lot of classes don’t do that,” sophomore Kate Wren said.”So that was really refreshing.” Wren, who took the class last semester, expressed that it was really fun, and that she liked getting to spend time outside and draw and be with nature. Wren learned that it’s really important to go outside and sit down with the world around you. “We feel like as humans we need to escape from Earth and go to space, when we should actually not. Why are we not satisfied with what God made? You don’t need to escape from that.” Wren said. In terms of the environment, Pino-Dressman references a book she read, that says that we should not be focused on saving the planet, but ourselves. Pino-Dressman explains that we can all do our small part to help the environment as well as fall in love with the environment. Pino-Dressman references a quote taught in class by director, producer, and cinematographer, Louie Schwartzberg, “Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with.” Pino-Dressman says that in terms of the artwork in class, she wants the students to be proud of what they have created, and know that it is worthy of attention. Pino-Dressman said, “They are beautiful, and their natural beauty can capture the attention of others. Young women will see themselves in nature. I am stardust and God is also stardust. I am beautiful and I deserve to be protected.”


Pino-Dressman teaches the Holy in Nature and Art class, reflecting on the concepts learned after the Auschwitz exhibit. left


Students sketch in their sketchbooks, according to a drawing prompt Pino-Dressman had instructed them. below


Pino-Dressman’s desk displays this plaque next to a few plants reminding students to “share their light.” far below

“Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we protect what we fall in love with.” -Louie Schwartzberg Photos | Brianna Legette

February 2022 // 21


Rethinking Reduce, Reuse, Recycle The current state of our planet requires us to rethink what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle. BY SOPHIE GROMOWSKY SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR


he polar ice caps are melting, forests across the world are burning and a garbage patch roughly three times the size of France floats in the Pacific Ocean. Open up your news app on any given day and you will find yourself scrolling through a plethora of depressing headlines, all serving as evidence of one central truth: our planet is in a climate crisis. In today’s society it is virtually impossible not to possess some level of awareness as to the state of our environment’s rapid and devastating decay, and to be quite honest, it’s overwhelming. Constant bombardment of news of our planet’s seemingly doomed fate has generated feelings of eco-anxiety through all age groups, but particularly in young people concerned about the state of their futures. In a 2018 survey conducted by the University of Bath, 51% of young adults between the ages of 16-25 reported feeling helpless, anxious and powerless in regards to climate change, and with good reason. Data continues to prove that the largest contributors to climate change are companies and corporations, not individual consumers. In fact, according to the Carbon Majors Report, just 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Many young people also expressed sentiments of betrayal by their

22 // LeJournal

government and by previous generations who did little to combat climate change, feeling that the responsibility has been forced onto them to save the dying planet. In response, recent years have seen a rise in the sustainability movement and an increase in the number of people choosing to adopt sustainable lifestyles. The goal of a sustainable lifestyle is to attempt to reduce an individual or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources. Some of its practices include composting and recycling, shopping fair trade and eliminating single-use plastics. Eco-friendly products, such as bamboo drinking straws, reusable produce bags and biodegradable coffee cups, have also shown a dramatic increase in demand. Research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2021 showed a 71% rise in the popularity of searches for sustainable goods over the past five years. It’s not only individual consumers who have been making more Earth conscious choices. Many companies have also implemented changes, like Disney’s pledge to eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions within all of its facilities by 2030 by switching to zero carbon electricity and Target’s use of recycling programs, which reduced the amount of waste sent from their stores to landfills by 75% in 2018, according to Forbes. Despite the progress of the past few years, the state of Earth’s climate has further deteriorated and will likely continue to worsen for the foreseeable future. The World Health Organization’s most recent findings showed air pollution levels in the United States rising by 6.7% in 2020, in spite of decreased levels of human activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 8 million metric tons of plastic are still dumped into the ocean each year and by 2050 ocean plastic will outweigh all of the ocean’s fish, according to Conservation International. And the United Nations’ Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC concluded that global temperatures will reach 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise at their current rate, which will result in extreme heat, rising sea levels and the melting of Arctic sea ice. Considering this information raises the question: Is it even worth it to live sustainably? The answer is yes, absolutely. It is easy to look at these negative benchmarks in climate change that our world is fast approaching and be discouraged by the seemingly limited capacity that you as an individual possess to stop it. However, as an individual, living a sustainable lifestyle does make a difference, even if that difference is so small it may seem negligible on a global scale. One person’s example has the potential to inspire others to take part in the movement as well, and when people come together they have the ability to create larger change.


Recycling Guide Checking recycling symbols on product packaging will let you know how an item should be recycled. POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTALATE

Found in water bottles, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter jars and microwaveable food trays. Can be recycled curbside.


Found in milk jugs, toys and playground equipment, shampoo bottles and juice bottles. Can be recycled curbside.


Found in shower curtains, clear food wrap, cosmetics and shrink wrap. Cannot be recycled curbside.


Found in grocery bags, squeezeable bottles, frozen food bags and packaging foam. Cannot be recycled curbside.


Found in yogurt containers, disposable cutlery, plastic bottle tops and kitcheware. Cannot be recycled curbside.


Found in egg cartons, disposable cups, CD and DVD cases and to-go containers. Cannot be recycled curbside.


Found in sports equipment, car parts, baby bottles and electrical wiring. Cannot be recycled curbside.

Photo | Pexels Symbols | Wikimedia Commons

Individuals living sustainably have a vital role to play in the fight to save the Earth. However, as our planet hurtles at a rapid pace towards irreversible damage from climate change, it has also become vitally important to reevaluate what it means to live sustainably and further the cause of the environmental movement. Evaluating our world’s current position, it is time to revise and expand upon the old slogan of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in order to adapt it to fit the various needs of the environmental movement of today. In addition to ‘reducing’ one’s personal waste output and consumption of products that harm the Earth, it is important to hold corporations accountable and ensure that they do the same. Do your research into the environmental policies of businesses you buy from and don’t support companies that put profit above the planet. Additionally, citizens must also hold the government responsible for creating policies that enforce greener practices in industry and investing in green energy solutions. Instead of people being told to ‘reuse’ products that would harm the environment if thrown away, they should be encouraged to refuse them to begin with. It is not enough to use plastics and other potential waste materials for other purposes, we must stop the initial production of these products in the first place. Furthermore, instead of simply instructing people to ‘recycle,’ it is also necessary to improve education surrounding the realities of the recycling system’s capabilities in order to ensure that it is able to function as effectively as possible. Recycling contamination due to incorrectly recycled objects is a huge problem facing the system today. Items such as glass bottles or anything containing food or liquid residue like a greasy pizza box or unwashed peanut butter jar can ruin an entire load of recycling and cause it to be redirected to a landfill. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll, 62% of Americans believe that their lack of knowledge on the recyclability of everyday waste products is causing them to recycle incorrectly. This number must be drastically reduced in order to ensure that our recycling system is maximally beneficial. Considerable strides are required in policy, education and economy in order to reorient our world to prioritize sustainability above all at this pivotal point in environmental history. Though the steps that must be taken are many and great, they can be achieved when individuals make the decision to put sustainability first in their own lives and take on the responsibility of confronting the systems in place which serve to harm our planet. It’s time for all of us to reflect on the areas in our own lives where we have space to improve and make those changes as quickly as possible. Our world and our future depend on it.

February 2022 // 23


ENVIRONMENTAL From farm to classroom, the environmental science teachers inspire students and faculty to go green. BY ELLA ROGGE MANAGING EDITOR


aised in the curiosity of nature and befriended by the organisms and habitats within it, environmental science teachers Amy Vandenbrul and Kaci Flippo credit their initial love for the Earth to growing up on farms, and spending a majority of their time outside. Vandenbrul recalls a pond which she described as her “never ending source of entertainment” when she was little, fascinated by how everything was connected. “The environment has always been important to me. I grew up on a farm, always outside.” Flippo said. “I have always loved animals and hated to hear anything that killed wild animals or ruined their habitat.” Although Flippo has always cared about the environment, she never expected to teach the course. As she majored in biology at UMKC and received her Master of Education degree from Avila, Flippo expected to teach biology and chemistry. During her first year at Sion, she was asked to teach an environmental science class, and has loved it ever since. “I enjoy teaching environmental science because so many problems go unnoticed,” Flippo said. “And because I have gotten to learn a lot over the years, especially from Ms. Amy.” In her time teaching environmental science, Flippo has noticed a phenomenal amount of misinformation being spread both online and in the news. Her students have taught her that there is always more to learn about the Earth. “I am educating the next generations who will have to deal with most of these environmental issues as they are only getting worse.” Flippo said. “I want my students to have the guidance they need to make informed decisions.”

24 // LeJournal


EVANGELISTS Similarly to Flippo, Vandenbrul was more interested in molecular biology in college. With the influence of her advisor and her passion for the environment, Vandenbrul simultaneously became an adjunct teacher for two homeschool classes at Rockhurst University and a doorto-door salesman profiting the Clean Water Act. Through her participation in both, she realized that she could be teaching a whole new generation how to save the Earth. “I have always been an avid outdoors-woman. In college, my professor and advisor led me to teaching without me even realizing it,” Vandenbrul said. “But I chose teaching as a way to reach more people and spread the message.” According to Vandenbrul, the reason she teaches can be summarized by her hero and environmentalist Jane Goodall’s words “Fortunately, nature is amazingly resilient: places we have destroyed, given time and help, can once again support life, and endangered species can be given a second chance. And there is a growing number of people, especially young people, who are aware of these problems and are fighting for the survival of our only home, Planet Earth. We must all join in that fight before it is too late”. Furthermore, Vandenbrul centers her life around the Earth, its environment and the creatures inhabiting it, planning her trips to enjoy nature and cherishing the Earth to the highest extent in her religious beliefs. “The environment should be important to everyone. I cherish life and all of the molecular intricacies that are involved with life.” Vandenbrul said. “And all life is dependent on a healthy habitat.” Although she credits nature to bringing her joy, Vandenbrul also recognizes that the vast majority of environmental issues can be depressing. She believes that teaching is her purpose and has found fulfillment in life and in her students’ optimistic outlook. “My students have allowed me to have more of a focus on the good things happening environmentally. My students give me hope.” Vandenbrul said. “I can sleep well at night knowing that I have done what I can to try to make the world a better place, one student at a time.”

February 2022 // 25



Check out some everyday sustainable products you can buy to replace old waste-producing products.





According to Pela 360

According to Green America

PHONE CASES With new technology in the 21st century, electronics are more widespread and widely used than ever before. According to Bankmycell, 83.89% of people have smartphones today resulting in a total of approximately 6.64 billion phone users. Teens and adults alike buy cute phone cases to match their style, but there is a better, plasticfree option. As teens who contribute to a large number of phone users, replacing the plastic with this eco healthy option, you can make a difference.

26 // LeJournal


Writing is a daily need for school, work, and life, but how is our writing affecting the environment? Pens are small items, but they can have a huge impact on the amount of waste produced around the world. Great options include refillable fountain pens or ballpoint pens with refill cartridges. If these options sound too complicated, various recycled pens are available to purchase off of Amazon to help make a contribution to saving our planet.





According to Senz

UMBRELLAS Everyone needs a little bit of protection from the rain in their life, but there are better ways to do it than the current plastic umbrellas we rest on our shoulders now. According to Statistica, the UK sold 1,557,395 umbrellas in 2020. A staple to the daily lives of many, umbrellas are easily replaced by a recycled option. The umbrellas are made from 100% from recycled water bottles with each umbrella containing 5.2 bottles.

According to Pela 360

NOTEBOOKS Everyone uses notebooks and paper each day, but is all this paper consumed amounting to far too much waste? According to The World Counts, from 2001-2019 approximately 386 million hectares of forest were lost. The World Counts estimates that by 2060, the consumption of pulp and paper is expected to double. A simple way for students to help fix this problem is purchasing this reusable notebook. Easily erasable and lightweight to carry, this is a simple way to help save our forests.

February 2022 // 27

How Does Your Garden Grow? Take this quiz to find out which type of garden you should plant this spring! 1. What does your typical Saturday look like?

A. Grabbing a coffee and taking a long drive blasting music B. Catching up on sleep and knocking out homework C. Sports practice, a shift at work and dinner with friends

2. Which of these fun colors would you pick to dye your hair? A. Blue B. Purple C. Pink

Mostly A’s: Flower garden - You’re a girl who’s blossoming with creativity and you find joy in the simple things. Your camera roll has a million photos because you want to remember all of the little moments of beauty that you find everyday. You care deeply about the people you love and will enjoy putting together colorful flower arrangements to give to your family and friends!

Mostly B’s: Veggie garden - You’re a nononsense type of girl and always strive to present your authentic self to the world. You give great advice and are an amazing listener, making you your friend group’s designated therapist. You don’t shy away from putting in the hard work to earn the reward, and you’ll have fun trying out new recipes to cook up the veggies you grew yourself!

3. Pick a Disney Channel Original Movie. A. Camp Rock B. High School Musical C. Lemonade Mouth

4. What is your go-to Chick-fil-A order? A. Chicken nuggets B. Chicken sandwich C. Chicken strips

5. What would your dream vacation destination look like? A. A vibrant city with unique shops and restaurants B. A mountain cabin with skiing and fireside reading C. A week-long cruise with lots of fun excursions

6. All three of these movies are playing on TV. Which one do you pick to watch? A. 10 Things I Hate Ahout You B. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone C. Legally Blonde

7. Which throwback karaoke song would you choose to sing? A. The Climb by Miley Cyrus B. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen C. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

Mostly C’s: Zen garden - Let’s face it, you’re a girl on the go! Between your jam-packed extracurricular schedule and brimming social calendar, you just don’t have the time to give these plants all the love and care they deserve. A zen garden will be just the thing to help you destress. Plus, it’s the only garden that comes in a mini-size to fit on your desk!

Quick Gardening Tips 1. Get to Know Your Garden Before you plant your garden make sure you check out the space. Does it get a lot of sunlight? What’s the soil type? How deep does it go? Picking plants that will be a good fit for your space will be important to help your garden thrive.

8. Pick a Crumbl Cookie flavor to try out.

2. Stay Close to Water

9. Which TV channel would you be most likely to tune in to?

3. Utilize Compost

A. Cinnamon Toast B. Berries N Cream C. Snickerdoodle Cupcake

A. HGTV - I love a good home makeover! B. The Cooking Channel - I’m always looking for a good recipe! C. E! - I live for the drama!

Make sure you can run a hose to your garden site. Your plants will need to be watered regularly, especially as the weather gets warmer so save yourself the trouble of lugging a watering can around whenever your plants get thirsty.

Not only is composting great for the environment and wildlife, but it will also enrich your garden’s soil and help it to retain moisture, which will help your plants to develop healthier roots and ward off plant disease and pests.