Climate Crew: From solar panels to reusable silverware, how one teacher is making his school greener | Michigan Radio
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Climate Crew: From solar panels to reusable silverware, how one teacher is making his school greener

Oct 11, 2019

With all the news about climate change, pollution and habitat destruction, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the environmental challenges facing the world. Our Climate Crew series features people who are stepping up in their own communities to do something about it. 

A fellow teacher tipped us off about Kevin Randall, who teaches biology at Grandville High School. We talked to him about what he’s been doing to make his school a little greener.

Randall runs the environmental club at the high school, which has around 2,000 students. The club is known as the GHS Green Team, and it aims to raise awareness among students and teachers about sustainability. It also works on projects to reduce the environmental footprint of the building itself.

One of the club’s recent projects focused on reducing waste in the school cafeteria. Randall said their cafeteria supervisor told them that the school went through 54,000 plastic forks every year. The club applied for a grant, built recycling centers for the cafeteria, and purchased metal silverware.

“And now every student uses a durable metal fork or a spoon instead of disposables, and that’s just one way we’re trying to capture the low-hanging fruit, if you will,” Randall said.

The efforts of Randall and his students have earned Grandville High School the Michigan Green School certification from the state. In addition to their work reducing waste in the cafeteria, the GHS Green Team has also built a garden with flowers and vegetables on campus, and leads cleanups on site and out in the community. Over the years, Randall and his students have also been working on raising money to install solar panels on the roof of the high school.

Randall said he was motivated to take the lead on environmental issues for his school because he wanted his students to have someone to turn to in the building who understands what’s at stake when it comes to climate change.

“And I also felt like I needed to do more in my life for my own two children at home,” Randall added. “They need to know that their dad is working as hard as he can to reduce the effects of climate change, and to spread the word, and to make sure that other students out there are learning about this just the way they are at home.”

We know there are many others like Randall out there, but we just don’t know about them! So we need your help. If you know of anyone who is working to make their part of Michigan a greener place, please let us know.

To nominate someone, just send us an email about who you're nominating and why to stateside@michiganradio.org. Put “Climate Crew” in the subject line.