SKHS Students Speaks to Legislators

SKHS Student Speaks Out Against Plastics
Posted on 01/24/2019

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day many students chose to take advantage of the day off and slept in. Not South Kitsap High School student Enjoli Shaw. She got up early, so she could join a group of seven other Washington students who met with state legislators and discussed the proposed Washington Reusable Bag Bill. This group of teens all share a passion for the ocean and the creatures that live in it. They went to Olympia as part of a joint teen advocacy day and spoke to state legislators about why they think it is important for Washington to give up plastic bags.

Humans generate about 300 million tons of plastic each year - and 8.8 million tons of it ends up in the ocean. TheWashington Reusable Bag Bill would create a statewide law eliminating the distribution of thin plastic shopping bags and reducing the threat plastic trash poses to marine wildlife.

After an introductory meeting learning about the legislative process and getting tips from Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) and Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), the group dispersed to talk with representatives of their home and surrounding districts.

The teens noted that while many legislators support the bill, some had concerns. Those meetings with the representatives, they agreed, were the most instructive.

SKHS student Enjoli Shaw said, “I learned how to be persuasive with people who have different perspectives than I do.”

Enjoli and the other teens agreed the Olympia day was a powerful learning experience.

“It was really cool to take action by talking to people who make the decisions about the future of our environment,” she said.

Why would eight teenagers give up the freedom of a school holiday to spend the day talking with elected officials – especially when they won’t know the impact of their advocacy for some time? One of the students summed it up, “I know we’re the generation that will face the results of today’s action, I want to be part of making a change.”

In photo: Conservation Engagement Manager Karen Povey (left) and youth volunteers (L to R): Michelle Owen, Gavin Amer, Bela Dolan, Sam Kerr, Enjoli Shaw, Shay Steeves, Grace Doleshel, Youth Volunteer Coordinator Alex Nicely, Logan Cornwell.

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