A few weeks ago, the Green Team held and attended our new initiative, ‘The Green Team Breakfast’ which took place before school in the GBC. The morning aimed to inspire and provide awareness surrounding the environment, climate change and the negative impacts of plastic. We began the day sharing some delicious food which we had pre-ordered to reduce food wastage and plastic, and had the opportunity to chat with our teachers, peers and guest speaker, Sophia Scaporis.
Sophia is a 16-year-old student from Monte Sant’Angelo Mercy College and has accomplished much regarding plastic elimination and awareness. When just 14 years old, she set out to make a change within NSW – the only Australian state that has not legislated to ban single use plastic bags. She gathered over 12,0000 signatures to forbid single use and heavy retail plastic bags in NSW and presented the petition to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Sophia’s dedication and commitment to the cause was commendable, as she spent many of her weekends at markets and shopping centres collecting signatures and support. The Premier then presented her petition in Parliament in 2018. Although the motion was unsuccessful, it has continued to have a long-lasting and major impact.
Many sustainable brands such as ‘surf-rider’ (a company which aims to protect Australia’s beaches and coaches) reached out to work with Sophia, and she was presented the Australian Geographic Society Award, and Young Conservationist of the Year. Sophia now lives a virtually waste-free lifestyle (even making her own toothpaste) and has pushed her school to become more environmentally friendly. Last year her school’s canteen eliminated all plastic use, which our canteen has also achieved; it’s heartening to see the progress our society is making. However, our past actions cannot be reversed, for as Sophia reiterated, plastic never fully disappears: “There is no such thing as ‘away’ when we throw ‘away’ our trash… it merely ends up in the ocean and our environment”. Nonetheless, it is never too late to switch to a sustainable lifestyle and help our Earth; its as easy as bringing your own ‘green bags’, carpooling, hanging clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer, BYO cutlery, plates and metal straws and turning off lights/heaters when not in use. And, if you want to go that bit further, installing solar panels or LED lights.
Sophia is a clear example of how we can achieve change via small steps and personal discipline. We encourage everyone to check out Sophia’s Instagram: @plasticfreesophia and her website ; she’s evidently doing big things and we want to support her in any way. A further thank you to Mrs Cranfield, Mr Merchant, Mrs Parker, and the mission staff for their organisation and support in creating this thought-provoking event.
Luka Swain, Green Team Member