Learning to take action to protect the earth


Caterina Pye '23

Sacred Heart Greenwich celebrates the environment with an array of Earth Day workshops.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich community celebrated Earth Day April 19.  The Environmental Stewardship Committee led the community in 34 interactive workshops to learn about and appreciate the Earth.  The celebration demonstrated how crucial it is to recognize the effects of people’s everyday actions on the environment and prompted discussions on ways to become more sustainable to combat climate change.  Mr. Matthew Blake, Upper School Theology and English Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, and senior Sinclair Noonan, Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science student and head of the Sustainability Club, explained the relevance of celebrating and learning about the Earth.

Earth Day highlights the need to invest in and protect the planet, which is particularly important due to the current environmental crisis.  The activities allowed students and faculty to educate themselves about human effects on the planet.  The “How Can We Reduce CO2 Levels?” workshop analyzed the effect carbon dioxide has on the atmosphere and helped brainstorm ways to reduce people’s carbon footprints.  The “Combating Climate Change: A Franco-American Cultural Comparison” workshop compared different solutions in combating climate change between the United States and France.  Students also planted seeds and shrubs in the “Hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature” workshop and further developed an appreciation for the Earth’s resources and beauty.  Mr. Blake explained the significance of Earth Day and the reminders the celebration brings.

Senior Sinclair Noonan leads an Earth Day Bingo workshop.  Caterina Pye ’23

“On Earth Day, we remember that we cannot survive without the rest of the Earth community,” Mr. Blake said.  “We celebrate our reliance on this planet for the water we drink every day to the oxygen-filled air we breathe every minute.  We give thanks for life in all its diversity and splendor.  We remember that non-human beings have inherent value and must be respected.”

The environment remains one of the most prominent debates globally, as many people do not believe in climate change or realize its immense effects on the global population, but especially on communities in need.  Mr. Blake underscored the importance of recognizing the Earth’s resources and eliminating the notion that humans have superiority over the planet.

“We can spend more time outside, get involved in place-based learning on campus, source our food more locally, and investigate the causes of the climate crisis,” Mr. Blake said.  “Most importantly, we can overcome the assumption that humanity is superior to the rest of the creation.  We are reliant upon, not master over, the Earth community.”

Mr. Vincent Badagliacca’s workshop explores environmental policy.  Caterina Pye ’23

Students and faculty go beyond the one-day celebration to educate themselves on and help combat the climate crisis.  Students in the AP Environmental Science class learn about the environment in the Climate, Climate Change, & Renewable Energy unit.  These students are researching solutions that are easy to implement daily and that make a large impact.  Sinclair reflected on the importance of learning about the environment and the actions people can take to help.

“There are both large and small changes people can make to become more sustainable,” Sinclair said.  “For example, switching to solar energy, driving an electric vehicle, and composting are large-scale lifestyle shifts that greatly reduce one’s carbon emissions.  Supporting local farms, using reusable grocery bags, coffee cups, and utensils are smaller changes that are easier to implement but also have a positive impact.  Everyone should be aware of the current climate crisis because it is a worldwide issue that will only worsen as society continues to burn fossil fuels.”

Featured Image by Caterina Pye ’23