Students win Youth Sustainability Champion Award
Posted on 05/31/2019
Students at Elginburg and District Public School were recognized as Youth Sustainability Champions at the annual Sustainable Kingston Awards May 30 for their efforts to ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene in the city.
Grade 4 and 5 students from Elginburg DPS initiated two petitions – one for Kingston City Council and one for Queens Park – outlining their goal to eliminate single-use plastics and opt for more environmentally-friendly alternatives such as reusable cloth bags and reusable containers.
The students collected 1,600 signatures for their petition to city council and over 2,000 physical signatures for their petition to Queen’s Park (this is the only acceptable format for petitions to be read in the legislature). About 50 students presented the city petition to Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson on the steps of City Hall in mid-April.
The petitions came about after students studied the rights and responsibilities that come with living in Ontario. The classes decided to start their petition to city council after a visit from the city’s committee clerk, who talked to them about ways they could become involved in local government. They were then encouraged to think bigger – Queen’s Park – following a visit from former Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala.
Students called for a ban on all polystyrene used for food and drink in the city.
Teacher Jerri Jerreat says students are already over the moon with the success of their petitions. “This has really empowered the students. They have learned to be active citizens, to care, to participate in their government.”
Announcing our third and final nominee for the Youth Sustainability Champion Award:
Announcing our third and final nominee for the Youth Sustainability Champion Award: Jerri Jerreat’s grade 4/5 students from Elginburg and District P.S.
(second photo titled: Okay, you adults. You’ve made a mess. Now clean it up!)
Grade 4 and 5 students at Elginburg and District P.S. gathered signatures on petitions that asked Kingston City Council and the Ontario provincial government to ban the manufacture and commercial use of plastic bags and all polystyrene used for food or drink. The students singled out bags because of the volume of it in the waste stream. Polystyrene is simply plastic with 95% air blown into it, thus, so lightweight, it is blown everywhere, especially into the Great Lakes (10 000 tonnes of plastic falls into our Great Lakes every year, according to the Ontario government). Black or coloured polystyrene is not even recyclable in most places. The students collected about 1,600 signatures for their petition to city council brought to council by Councillor Kiley on April 16th and around 2000 signatures for their petition brought to Queen’s Park on April 17th by MPP Des Rosiers. They engaged many local businesses and organizations who put the petition in their locations to attain more signatures.
April 16th: Two grade 4/5 classes from Elginburg District Public School brought our petition to ban two single use plastics in the City of Kingston with 1562 signatures to Mayor Bryan Paterson. That evening Councillor Robert Kiley read the petition in full to Kingston City Council. More to follow up on this in May!
April 18th: Member of Provincial Parliament, Nathalie Des Rosiers, first read our petition to ban some single use plastics with 270 signatures from the community of Temiskaming Shores in New Liskeard, northeastern Ontario. Thank you, friends! More coming next week when Queen’s Park is back in session!
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