Thank you: AP Environmental Science


Abigail Durkin

Graphic by Abigail Durkin

Abigail Durkin, Opinions Editor

For as long as I can remember, me and the environment have had a rocky relationship.

I have never been able to keep a flower alive for more than a week. Growing up my pets names consisted of Goldie, Goldie #2 and Goldie #3. I’m inside during all of spring because if I walk within a mile radius of a Callery pear, or as I refer to as the smelly white trees, I will break out into a coughing fit.

So, when I signed up for AP Environmental Science my senior year, the idea of saving the environment was not really my top motivating factor.

Flash-forward to April 20th 2022, and I couldn’t imagine what my senior year would be like if I hadn’t taken the class. I have grown to look forward to learning about the different types of greenhouse gasses, threats to biodiversity and practices of sustainable agriculture. Admittedly, I have transformed into a “tree hugger” as my friends lovingly call me.

The true turning point for me was when I had to calculate my ecological footprint. Ecological footprint is an individual’s impact on the environment based on the amount of land required to sustain their individual lifestyle. Learning that our society would need 4.5 earths if everyone were to live like me made me understand just how important my impact on the environment is.

After that I started researching what I could do to improve my own ecological footprint, watching documentaries on genetically modified organisms and developing my understanding of climate change through class lectures.

Within a week I had gone from a student to an environmentally educated citizen. Changing my lifestyle to become vegan, which reduces the large amount of greenhouse gas emissions coming directly from beef and dairy productions. I also made less drastic changes to my lifestyle like changing all my light bulbs to LED, planting cute trees in my backyard and using reusable beeswax sheets instead of plastic sandwich bags.

If you told me 8 months ago that I was going to become vegan to help save the environment, I would have told you that for that to happen I would have to go crazy. But the truth is that being a part of AP Environmental Science has truly made me go crazy for the environment, and be sane for wanting to preserve and save our planet.