Now in its second year, Detroit Cristo Rey’s Environmental Justice Club continues making positive changes on the school grounds. Its latest initiative? A Detroit Cristo Rey rain garden.
Cristo Rey seniors Crystal Ramirez and Estrella Escutia created the club with Cristo Rey CFO Lori Kuhn.
“Environmental issues are grave issues affecting our world today; the need for change and action is prominent,” said Escutia. “We decided that we needed to do something to take action in our best ability, and so Environmental Justice Club rose.”
Last year, the club introduced a composting program at lunch. The program involved replacing styrofoam plates with compostable plates at breakfast and lunch.
The club is now taking steps to reduce waste and preserve clean water by creating a rain garden. The rain garden will ensure the collected rain water doesn’t go to waste by ending up in the sewer system or mixing with dirty water, which makes it unusable. When water touches the road the water turns dirty because the roads are not cleaned.
“The rain garden will use the water from rain that would usually go to waste for good,” said Escutia. “The water eventually gives back to the school. We’re using our natural resources to our benefit instead of letting them go to waste.”
Now with the rain garden, rain water goes into the plants and soil rather than the sewers. The rain garden is located in the back of the school parking lot where there is enough space to create a reservoir for the rain water, which can be given to the plants as needed. The plants that are picked are specific plants that can store enough water.
Next steps for the club include recruiting more students and continuing the current projects, and looking for new projects.
“I hope to recruit more underclassmen into the Environmental Justice Club as Crystal and I will be graduating this year and we need committed people to continue our work and further,” said Escutia. “As for now, we will continue to enforce our former projects like the composting of trays and the rain garden. We will continue to make school greener throughout the year; for example, to expand the amount of items we compost, enforce the use of reusable bottles, etc.ee We are open to the ideas of all students as well.”