SOCIAL ISSUES

Resolution: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
How to make 2019 your most eco-friendly year yet
By: Bella Crysler

     It’s January once again and that means it is time to make New Years resolutions, the list of goals we want to achieve and bad habits we want to break in the next 365 days. This year, next to “get SUPER fit”, “drink more water”, and “spend less time on social media”, consider adding a little something that will benefit the environment. The following is a list of things you can try this year to lower your environmental footprint and overall increase your health by positively impacting the health of the planet!

 

  1. Stop using plastic water bottles - Invest in a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste and pollution. There are lots of options for cool reusable bottles and it will save you money in the long run! Did you know that it takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose?

 

2. Try thrift shopping or reducing your shopping - thrift shopping helps diverte around 700 million pounds of used goods from landfills each year. On top of that, you are guaranteed to find something that no one else has!

 

3. Pack a litterless lunch - not only is packing a lunch ahead of time a healthier and more cost effective option, it also gives you the opportunity to skip the packaging that will end up in a landfill or polluting natural habitats later on.

 

4. Turn out the lights - this is super simple but often something that people have a habit of forgetting. When you aren’t using a light or a charger try to turn it off or unplug it. This will save you money and help the planet by reducing energy use!

 

5. Bike, run, walk, skateboard… - limiting your car use is one of the best ways you can reduce your carbon emissions. Skipping the car and opting to walk or bike is also better for you and contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Carpooling is also a good option if you need to use your car!

 

6. Take shorter showers - taking a shorter shower or a cold shower is a great way to reduce water and energy use. Set a timer on your phone or use a seperate timer and try to shower in 5 minutes or less! An average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes, you can cut your water use by 10 gallons.

 

7. Use the correct garbage bin - try your best to put paper in the back bin, plastic in the blue bin, and compost in the green bin. This will increase how much you recycle and reduce how much of your waste ends up in a landfill.

 

8. Eat less meat or dairy - I’m not saying you have to become a vegan but red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse emissions as vegetables and grains. Additionally, cow farts account for 28 per cent of all methane emissions related to human activity. To start, you can try to reduce the amount of meals that include meat you eat in a week, eventually you might even decide to try being vegetarian or vegan!

 

9. Ditch plastic bags - get a few reusable bags to keep in your car or purse so whenever you go shopping you don’t have to resort to using plastic bags. A person uses a plastic carrier bag on average for only 12 minutes and very few are recycled. Sadly, around 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually.

 

10. Lower the thermostat - this sounds hard to do when in the middle of a freezing cold Canadian winter, but keeping your thermostat around 18 degrees during the day in the winter and even lower at night will positively impact the environment and lower your heating expenses. Most new thermostats come with eco-settings that you can use as well!

 

11. Go to the library - the library is the ideal study spot and also a great way to lower your environmental footprint. Over 30 million trees are cut down annually to produce the paper that makes books read in the United States alone so taking out a book from the library or borrowing from a friend is very eco-friendly!

 

12. Avoid food waste - planning ahead and buying only what you need is the perfect way to avoid food waste. Taking leftovers for the next days lunch and similar habits are great but make sure you are always able to eat it all. $31 billion worth of food is wasted in Canada each year, that’s  approximately 40% of food produced.

Opinion: Why Doug Ford’s Sex Ed Curriculum Change Puts Us As Students At Risk

By Patrick Pearson

Opinion: Why Doug Ford’s Sex Ed Curriculum Change Puts Us As Students At Risk

By Patrick Pearson

     Many things have changed since 1998. The reign of the internet has molded the world into what it is today and created entirely new problems in society. With that, we should adapt and prepare ourselves for those problems. However, Doug Ford seems to think that we should undo the progress we have made towards becoming a more accepting, welcoming, and safe society by reverting the Ontario sexual education curriculum to the 1998 version. The changes he has made will affect students of all ages for the rest of their lives and negatively affect many already marginalized people.

 

    Let’s go over the facts. Younger children are now not learning how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. Once they start to become more mature, they are not taught how to stay safe online. The myths surrounding sexually transmitted diseases are not dispelled for them. They are not taught about consent and what it means. They are not taught about how other’s identities deserve respect. They are not taught to love and embrace their true selves regardless of what society says.

 

    Due to its age, different issues have become prominent since and the public’s general opinion on certain issues has changed. Ford’s curriculum pretends many problems simply do not exist. By doing that, it is throwing people blind into an unforgiving world unprepared for what they will encounter. As people grow, they begin to discover themselves, figure out their identities, and understand how that impacts their experience within society. Now, they will be learning that the hard way. On the flip side, those who are not marginalized by society will not be taught the  importance of treating others who are with decency planted in their values.

 

    High school is a strange environment. It is effectively your entire world as a young adult. It has a way of pushing people further to the ends of the social hierarchy. It can be the perfect breeding ground for sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, and other hateful ideologies because of the pressure to act like friends, newfound independence, and vulnerability. By not opening up the conversation of why it is not ok, that behaviour is left unchecked. Education is the only way to ensure that people will be held accountable, and by not taking advantage of that extremely powerful opportunity, our government is failing us.

 

    It may seem like there is very little we can do about this, and that is somewhat true. We cannot vote and because of that we are often not taken into consideration when policies are made surrounding us. This issue affects no one other than us, yet demand from parents with dated views is what led to these changes. It is our duty as citizens of a democratic society to speak our minds and use our voices.

It's Not All Bad: The Good Side to Social Media

By: Amelia 

    As smartphones are becoming more and more accessible and standard for the world today the rise of social networking is more prevalent now more than ever, especially among teenagers. You’ve probably heard, probably from adults, that it’s a waste of time, distracting, and addictive. While some downsides come with it, it is not all bad and a lot of people don’t realize the good side to social media and how it benefits our society.

 

   

   Social media has made us more and faster informed than ever before. News outlets can share breaking stories, alerts and other important bits of news instantly with their followers. We can easily access stories, things that aren’t discussed, different viewpoints and social issues from any part of the world that we wouldn’t have known existed otherwise and this brings us together. Social media has revolutionized the way we get information.

 

   It also strengthens relationships. It is much easier to stay in contact with an old friend, keep up long distance relationships and not only helps you build existing relationships but lets you create new ones too. Many people have found close friendships that started by talking on social media. Some even find their spouses thanks to online dating. Regardless of where someone lives, it’s a lot easier to find people of the same interests as you.

 

  Social media can create a sense of belonging and provides support. People can find support groups, ask for advice, and find things they relate to. Social media easily gives you a platform to voice your opinion or ask others for support and advice and find others that are facing the same challenges as you. Even if you think you’re the only one who is going through something, you’re likely to find people who are going through the exact same thing and being able to talk to someone or even knowing that you are not alone can help someone greatly.

 

  Overall, it’s makes things easier to access and is helping accomplish things that couldn’t be done without social media. Many people think that no good music is being made anymore because of today’s pop music and that good music is dead, but the truth is that music is at a better place than it has ever been because you can listen to whatever you want to listen to at any time. You used to have to either listen to what was on the radio or find what you wanted to listen to in a store, but now with just a simple search you can listen to any type of music from any time that you want, you can even discover new music. If you want to learn how to do something you can easily search and find it online, even a specific math problem or an issue with a computer can be resolved because chances are someone else was wondering the same thing. We now have platforms to easily voice our opinions, to get a business started, and even some people’s jobs are involved with social media. Many famous artists and businesses today are successful because they started by posting their work online.

 

   A lot of things have been accomplished from social media from money being raised for important causes to even our own school’s walkout. With all the negative things you usually hear about social media, it is hard to realise the good side of it but I think that as long as you are not spending every second on social media, limit yourself, and not letting it distract you from getting things done it can bring people together and create a positive impact on teenagers today.

Cafeteria food? That’s so 2017…

Written by: Ingrid Gruson

      The classic stereotype of the whole school swarming their cafeteria at the lunch bell, caf trays in hand, getting a filling lunch with the five dollar bill their parents gave them doesn’t seem to be the case anymore in our world of advancing technology. Walking around the hallways at lunch you now see students sipping their bubble teas, opening fresh salad bowls, even kids running out to cars to get a big bag with a lunch for them and their friends. This isn’t abnormal for me or any other 2018 high school student. You already know they must have just ordered “Uber Eats”. But why must students have their breakfasts and lunches delivered to school when they can walk into the cafeteria?

 

       Most cafeteria’s in Ottawa high schools do not carry very healthy, affordable breakfasts and lunches for their students. The basics consist of processed grilled cheese sandwiches, poutine, pizza, garlic bread and you can’t forget the three dollars you must pay if you want carrot sticks with some suspicious dipping sauce. It just seems logical in this day and age for you to pick from healthy salad bowls, bagels, sandwiches, really whatever you desire and have it brought to your school door.

 

      From a simple poll I conducted I received answers from almost 225 students from high schools all around the Ottawa area. 68% of students would “Uber Eats” to their schools rather than eating from the cafeteria. It is clearly the more mediating route.

 

      To conclude, are you on board with downloading the “Uber Eats” app and opting for something substantially more healthy and possibly more affordable? I know I am because I do not believe pizza, fries and three dollar carrots and dip is moving in the right direction of nourishing and building us, the students, in the place we are supposed to be learning and growing, our high schools.

Good Water Helps Us Succeed

By: Sarah Goodfellow 

     Many NHS students bring their own water bottles to school everyday, and students should be filling, and refilling, their water bottles using the school’s drinking fountains. But did you know that not all of our school drinking fountains are “created equal”?

 

    Proper hydration is an important and necessary part of our daily student lives. In fact, water is proven to “improve brain function by 15%” writes Colette McCullough in Watertech’s Extraordinary Water Blog. Given the known benefits of drinking plenty of water, students should be encouraged to drink water throughout the school day. McCullough adds that “when the brain is operating with plenty of water, students are able to have greater clarity, creativity, focus, and quicker thought processes”. Based on these findings, it would seem obvious that students should be allowed, and even encouraged, to drink plenty of water.  Unfortunately, most of the fountains in our school are the older, unfiltered water fountains that produce water that has a bitter metallic taste. The water from these older drinking fountains is unappetizing which could leave students reluctant to use these fountains.

 

   I, like many NHS students, have come to rely upon the filtered water fountains in the school but they are very few in number making accessibility to good-tasting, clean, filtered water an issue. This is a problem because filtered water is a healthier and better tasting option and with enrollment at NHS exceeding 1100 students, two filtered drinking fountains is not enough.

 

   With student health and success in mind, not to mention the important environmental benefits, an appeal should be made to the Ottawa Carleton District School Board to invest in the purchase and installation of three more ELKAY filtered fountains for NHS. This product ensures the filtration of unwanted lead and chlorine producing good tasting water with no offensive metallic taste. School fundraising efforts could also be a means of financing a portion of the expense as the cost of the filtered drinking fountains is in the $2000 - $5000 range. This should be an attainable goal.

 

Let’s install more filtered drinking fountains at NHS and encourage our students to drink more water!

KNIGHTWATCH 2020/2021