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Stonewall Youth Going Green

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Stonewall Youth Going Green (SYGG) is a youth organization that focuses on tackling environmental issues within the town of Stonewall. It started when a group of youth that worked together within Stonewall decided that the town was not doing enough to help the environmental crisis that is upon us. While working in retail, they could see the amount of waste that came from the single-use plastic bags as thousands of plastic bags were given out in just their small local store every day.

Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and is killing our wildlife. There is an island of plastic floating in our ocean that is approximately the size of Texas. The movement of banning plastic bags has been taking place in Canada as Prince Edward Island, Thompson, and many more places have already banned these wasteful convenience products. By coming together to form SYGG, and with the help of their mentor Greg Shedden, the group created their initial task to get Stonewall to ban the single-use plastic bags.

During their last town election campaign, SYGG members sent a representative to ask candidates their thoughts on banning plastic bags. Candidates responded very positively and were agreeable to take a step in the right direction to help protect the environment. After the election, SYGG waited for the news of the new by-law to take effect but months past and no action was taken. They decided then to arrange a meeting with the council, where they sat down to discuss why there still had been no action taken. The council then stated that it was necessary to get permission from the major businesses before they could move forward. This was upsetting news for the SYGG members as there had been no mention of this prior to this point. At the same time that they understand and respect that the council is busy and it can take time to get these orders into effect, the SYGG members felt that their concerns about the state of the environment were not being taken seriously.

Banning plastic bags won’t solve all environmental problems by any means, but it is a step in the right direction, and it is better than not taking action at all. SYGG wants to tackle bigger issues involving climate change, but a task as simple as a bag-ban seems to be proving to be a much more difficult process than expected. A couple of the group leaders, Miya Saj and Emily Baker, gathered hundreds of signatures on Main Street of Stonewall and handed out reusable bags to town residents. Saj and Baker also interviewed with the town newspapers, the Argus and the Tribune, in efforts to raise awareness about the environment crisis. Miya and Emily also started up an Instagram account which is run by a new member, Shae Mulvihill.

“Unfortunately, we are still fighting to ban plastic bags, but we will not stop until it happens. Climate change is going to affect the younger generation; this is our future we are fighting for. The leaders of our world are not protecting us from the devastating effects of climate change. We are literally fighting for our future. These issues must be taken seriously because we will run out of time to fix the mess we have created. The fact that our future is on the line is what keeps us motivated.”

It’s very inspiring to see the efforts of many youth around the globe come together to fight climate change and it is certainly specially inspiring for the SYGG members. “Greta Thunberg has become a sensation and motivates us every day to keep fighting. We want to share the message that it is not too late to make change, but action must be taken. Things like turning the lights off before you leave the house, bringing your own utensils/straws/cups to takeout restaurants, recycling and composting, incorporating less meat into your diet, riding your bike instead of driving, and bringing your own bag to the mall and grocery stores when you shop. We live in a world of convenience, but some of these conveniences come at the expense of our earth. All the small efforts made add up: “It’s just one bag.”—said 1 billion people.”

Finally, SYGG would like to share to all youth to not be afraid to step up and make noise about what matters to each one because if you don’t, nobody will. If you would like to reach out to Stonewall Youth Going Green with any comments or concerns their email is stonewallyouthgoinggreen@gmail.com and their Instagram is @stonewallgoinggreen.

#youthaction #sustainability #green

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