Opinion: Actions Speak Louder than Banners

by Nicky Eleuteri
BHS News

Let’s set the scene: It’s a regular Tuesday morning. You’ve just survived that big Math test, and you can’t wait to go to C lunch and hang out with your friends. As your shoes clatter on the stairs of BHS, as you walk through the large blue doors of the cafeteria, as you sit down and get ready for a great meal, it pops out at you. How can you ignore such a large, hovering symbol of environmentalism and ecological watchfulness? The bright green letters and blue Wamp heads are diabolically hypnotizing. What am I talking about, you ask? It is the one, the only, “Slash The Trash” banner.

Slash the Trash

Students and faculty alike have chimed in on what they think of the banner, and reactions have been mixed, to say the least. Mr. Selig, faculty advisor to the Green Team, stated that he sees the banner as a “positive step in the right direction.” He also informed me that the banner was given to the school by Sustainable Braintree (ed. correction: the banner was paid for by the Braintree Fund for Education), an organization within the town dedicated to saving the environment and promoting recycling. On the other hand, an anonymous student on the website “Braintree Confessions” had this to say about the poster:

Slash the Trash Confessions

Needless to say, the banner has sparked a fair amount of controversy within BHS. In my opinion, in and of itself, the banner seems colorful and positive; however, it is devoid of any practical application other than its announcement of a trite, dull slogan. I believe that there may be slight subliminal value in such a thing, similar to a television advertisement, but that it will only be effective if clubs such as the Green Team actively petition and motivate the student body to work towards environmental sustainability.

Do not misunderstand me: I love recycling as much as the next guy. Single Stream recycling is one of the most vital services in Braintree. By critiquing the “Slash The Trash” banner I wish merely to articulate that a sign placed in a cafeteria is one thing, but action by the Green Team and the student body is another.

At this point, you may be asking “What action?” In the words of Shakespeare, “That is the question.” Since I am not a member of the Green Team, I cannot definitively say how they are helping the environment. I am aware that they do recycling every week or so, but their other activities are beyond my scope of knowledge. Could they inspire the school to participate in even more environmental endeavors, perhaps tree plantings or “Beautify Braintree” days? This seems like a fairly manageable course of action to supplement the “Slash The Trash” banner. The way I see it, if students cannot connect the “Slash The Trash” banner to actions that promote goodwill towards the Earth, then the banner has failed.

Given the reactions of faculty and students, the “Slash the Trash” banner is pointless in its current state. Its production may have even been detrimental to the environment. It must function as a call to action for the Green Team and student body, or the efforts of Sustainable Braintree will have been for nothing.

Nicky Eleuteri is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition