Incline High School’s Generation Green made a splash in eliminating plastic from our oceans this past weekend.
Club members Megan Rachlin (Sr.) and Makayla Jones (Sr.), as well as advisers Ann Clark and Abbie Lindeberg, traveled to Dana Point, Calif., for the Algalita Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) International Youth Summit.
“We got accepted to go to the summit for our plastic footprint sculpture we made last year,” explains Jones.
If you have not yet seen this sculpture traveling around the community, from the high school to Diamond Peak and all the way to Burning Man, you are sure to see it at future community events.
“The sculpture is meant to bring awareness to the issue of single use plastics in our community and beyond,” said Clark, “especially regarding plastic water bottles. We have some of the best tap water in the world, and people are buying disposable plastic bottles and throwing them away.”
Generation Green was among many schools spanning four countries that attended the Algalita summit.
Captain Charles Moore, the discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a cesspool of plastic “soup” circulating in the Pacific Ocean Gyre, founded the Algalita Marine Research Institute in 1994.
The institute is dedicated to research and education that will teach the public about the issues of plastic marine pollution.
Jones and Rachlin learned about how to spread awareness of the plastic-free movement and about one important step to the cycle of plastic at the POPS Summit.
“Everyone knows ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ but what we learned about is to refuse,” Rachlin said. “If you refuse to use plastic, like saying no to a straw or a lid, that will keep the plastic out of our waters.”
Special guest, singer/songwriter and environmental enthusiast Jack Johnson surprised POPS goers with a motivating speech and private concert.
Johnson’s foundation, All At Once, an organization meant to help connect nonprofit groups with the community through environmental action, helped fund the Youth Summit.
Generation Green Club members traveled back to Incline Village with high hopes for their school.
With just a few months before graduation, Rachlin and Jones are inspired to make as many changes to the plastic problem at Incline High School while they still can.
“It was a really fun experience to hear other people’s stories and to hear how the pollution has affected their lives,” Jones said. “Now we can use what others have done to educate and spread the word on plastic pollution in our own community.”
If anyone would like to learn more about the Plastic Footprint Project, visit www.Facebook.com/PlasticFootprintProject.
The POPS summit is sponsored in part by grants from the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Reef Redemption, Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), Employees Community Fund of Boeing California, New Belgium Brewing Company and Elkay. Learn more at www.algalita.org.