Meet WESS’s first club: Green Team

Eloise Gordon

“We need to educate ourselves before it gets too late.” These words spoken by Louisa Blakely, one of the Green Team’s leaders, perfectly consolidates the Green Team’s purpose at West End Secondary. The Green Team is the oldest club at WESS and it was originally an elective. Since 2015, the Green Team has been meeting on a regular basis in order to achieve their many goals. They hope to succeed in new initiatives in this school year.

The Green Team started out big with the creation of the oyster bill, formally known as bill A655A. The oyster bill is a bill that makes it so that every restaurant in New York that donates one pound of oyster shells gains ten cents in profit. The Green Team has spent many years trying to get this bill passed, each year challenging a new obstacle. After creating the memo for the bill, members of the Green Team worked with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal who is a part of the stage legislator, to petition and advocate for their bill twice in Albany. 

The Green Team has not only had to look at the issues that every other green team in America faces, but they have also had to look at law making and the process of a bill being turned into a law. The Green Team has managed to get seventeen Congress members to sign the bill, as well as four people to sign off on a federal level. Additionally, the Green Team has managed to get the oyster bill introduced in both the NY State Assembly and the Senate. 

When asked why the bill has not been passed already, WESS junior Jackie Lovci explained that it is challenging to get this done when so many other people are trying to get their own bills passed. One of the biggest challenges that the Green Team is currently trying to overcome is to get their bill acknowledged and recognized. 

While a big focus of the WESS Green Team is to get the oyster bill passed, they also focus on some other sustainability initiatives including cleaning up parks, political advocacy, and educating WESS students on the threats of climate change. While the Green Team is a very unique club, they are struggling with the implications of COVID-19, just like hundreds of other high school clubs across the US; afterall, having virtual meetings is not the same as having in-person meetings. Nevertheless, the Green Team is pushing through the challenges of having a virtual club by preventing its members’ voices from getting lost and continuing to meet every Wednesday at 3:15 to debrief the work they have gotten done. Members are continuing to call people in Congress, get important information out to the public, and most importantly, they are not letting COVID-19 get in their way.  

Being one of the smaller WESS clubs, the Green Team is always looking for new people to join them in the important work they do. Those who can join should know that they are joining an important club. Even if you can’t join, whatever the reason might be, the Green Team wants you to know that you can still have an impact on slowing the spread of climate change. You can commit to small changes such as ordering less online, making sure you get your clothing from sustainable places, and continuing to educate yourself. Members of the green team are making important, permanent changes that will forever change and impact the earth we live in.