Traverse City Community comes together for Earth Day 2021

Students at West and local community members reflect on how to better both the community and environment


Isabelle Baumann, Editor

  Each year many people, organizations, and communities come together to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. The holiday was created in 1970 to educate citizens about environmental issues and encourage them to think about their environmental impact and what they can do to lessen it. This year, the Biden Administration has decided to hold a global climate summit to reflect their commitment of elevating the importance of the climate in U.S foreign policy. So far, the President has created a new position, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, made climate change a matter of national security, and rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. Many students here at school are passionate about environmental issues, climate change, and sustainability as well. Junior, Claire Hornkohl, has been passionate about environmental activism for about 2 years. 

  “I started becoming involved with environmental activism in 2019 when Greta Thunberg started her Friday school strikes, ” Hornkohl said. 

  Hornkohl credited Thunberg as her inspiration to participate in local climate strikes and environmental awareness events. 

  “Since learning about the Friday school strikes, I have been to 4 of the climate strikes in Traverse City. Going [to the climate strikes] was a super empowering experience, I met a ton of people who are similar to me in the fact that they love the environment and want to help protect it,” Hornkohl said. 

  In regards to her daily life, Hornkohl  makes sure she is taking steps to lower her carbon/global footprint. 

  “I try to stay away from single use plastics on a day-to-day basis and I have been trying to eat a lot less meat as well. 

  Hornkohl also believes that environmental issues and mandates should be politicized to help bring awareness and change. 

  “I think [climate change] should be the Biden administration’s top priority. We are doing better as a country [with the new presidency] but we definitely could be doing more. This means that [climate change] should number one on the agenda because once we combat climate change, we can then work to solve other [environmental] issues,” Hornkohl said.

  Junior, Makala Anderson, is another environmental advocate/activist here at school. 

  “I started being interested in [environmental advocacy] in sixth grade, but I have participated in many environmental awareness events throughout my life starting with the Earth cleanup days in elementary school,” Anderson said. 

  Similarly to Hornkohl, Anderson is also very environmentally conscious when it comes to her daily life. 

  “I use reusable bags instead of plastic ones, and make sure to limit my single use plastic consumption,” Anderson said. 

  In regards to legislation, Anderson believes that our state government is taking promising steps. 

  “I like the work Governor Whitmer has been doing in regards to shutting down Pipeline 5 as that is a cause that I feel very strongly about,” Anderson said. 

  For students interested in environmental activism, Hornkohl recommends that look into Greta Thunberg’s organization Fridays For The Future which is an international climate movement that started in 2018. 


Student Resources for Earth Day: