Down to Earth

Tomorrow’s Earth Day Cleanup event is allowing North Allegheny students to take initiative to improve the local environment.


photo by Lucie Flagg

Picking up litter off the ground is an easy way to clean up the environment.

Anna Parsons, Staff Writer

After witnessing the positive effects that the first quarantine had on global environmental health, Earth Day Cleanup directors Quinn Volpe, David Schantz, and Sally Cho knew they had to continue improving the quality of our planet, especially since humans have started to negatively affect the planet again. 

“Our planet began to heal itself because pollution levels went down on many different fronts,” Volpe said. “Now that we’re starting to get back outside nearly everyday, we must work to help the planet in any way we can.”

Earth Day, which takes place on April 22nd, celebrates the place humans call home, and North Allegheny students are coming together to help clean up the planet by volunteering to pick up trash in neighborhoods, parks, or other public spaces. The Earth Day Cleanup is open to students, staff, parents, and community members wanting to improve the environment. 

“Climate change is a real issue that impacts everybody,” Cho said. “It is very important to protect our environment.” 

The event will stress the importance of taking care of the Earth at a time when environmental decline is only growing more serious. 

“I think that the inspiration behind this event was not only to help mitigate the degrading conditions of the Earth in a localized way, but also to help spread awareness of environmental issues,” Schantz said. 

The hope for the cleanup is to educate others on the state of the world and to encourage participation from students and community members to tidy up their own backyards. 

“I’m hoping that the work that people do during the event is eye opening,” Schantz said. “I hope it inspires them to want to continue to advocate for a cleaner world and to get others involved as well.” 

Even localized cleanup positively affects the entire environment. 

“Our team hopes that this will bring light to seemingly simple things that feed into climate change,” Volpe said. “While climate issues are caused primarily by larger factors, we should do whatever we can to avoid contributing to the problem at a local level.”

The event is organized under the NA Social Justice Club, but is partnered with service organizations so that participants can gain service hours. They can receive hours for NAI and NASH Key Clubs, National Honors Society, and other outside organizations by indicating on the sign up form. 

To sign up, interested volunteers must fill out the Google form located on the event’s website, providing name, email, phone number, and information regarding desired location of cleanup and time. 

Taking the initiative to better the shape of our environment even through small action is the main takeaway of the Earth Day Cleanup. Anyone, regardless if they’re a part of the NA community, is welcome to take the step to ameliorate our local environment. 

“I hope this gives people a new appreciation for our environment,” Cho added. “Hopefully, it will raise awareness of climate change.” 

As more and more people venture out into the world again with the vaccine rollout, Volpe, Schantz, and Cho hope others will join them to improve the environment instead of repeating old habitats from before the first quarantine. 

“If we all work together to clean up our little corner of the world, we can contribute to a greater cause in the pursuit of saving the planet,” Volpe said.