Kayla's Story

What will be my role as a citizen in the envirnomental community?

My role as an envirnomentalist so far has been rather insignificant. My family has been recycling for years, but we've never really gone much further than the bare minimum. I do believe that I can do more, but up until now I didn't really have my bearings and was clueless as to where to begin. However, I now know that recycling was a good first step and that the next is to try to encourage others to do so as well. True, it may just be a baby-step, but I believe that changes, no matter how small, take time. Little changes that we make today will be picked up as habit by the next generation and they will eventually pass them down to their young; that is my reasoning regarding the evolution of habit of the human species.

I am planning to take advantage of this knowledge come next fall when school lets in. All around my school there are blue buckets emblazoned with the classic recycling symbol, but many students often confuse these bins to the trash and vice versa. Hopefully, by raising some awareness among the kids, more recycable items will get thrown into the right basket. The new troupe of freshmen don't really know the way our school works and so this will be instilled as a habit rather quickly because that will be one of the first things that they are told: recycle. Eventually, as those freshman will move up in the high school ranks and they will have influence on the next year of freshmen that enter their midst, passing it down to them.

Now some may say that it's a stupid project with very little hope for success, but still, even if its just a little change, it still means less garbage to be tossed carelessly into the local dump. From what I saw at the Los Reales landfill, we're literally making mountains out of trash a day and it needs to stop or at the very least be reduced. Anyone who has seen the sheer amount of waste would certainly agree with my sentiments.

I think that out of all the group challenges that we were given during EC ’07, the wasteless meal was one of the most enjoyable.

All four teams were given the same set of instructions: order a meal and try to be as conservative with the waste as possible then bring back all the waste that we were unable to get rid of. Each group was given seven dollars per person to pay for their meal and a cloth napkin. The instruction sheet was to be our first piece of trash.

Now it started out as a simple walk to the Student Union on the UofA campus; just the Purple team: Katie L, Will, Lawrence, and myself, but halfway there we met the Yellow team: Andres, Tyler, Bianca, and Katie R. We decided that it would probably be easier on all of us if we ate as a group and split whatever trash we brought back.

Once at the Union, we discovered that most of the eateries were closed, save for Papa John’s and a smoothie place.

This is when the arguing began.

First we had to choose whether to stay or not.

We stayed at Papa John’s and ordered a large pizza, half pepperoni for the meat eaters and half cheese for the veggie-heads (Myself included in their number). The pizza topping quarrel lasted about a good ten minutes (Also scared about everyone within hearing distance which included just about the entire Union and bookshop)

While we were waiting for our pie, we busied ourselves by talking (Loudly), and generally annoying the heck out of anyone who was unfortunate (Or stupid enough) to choose to eat in the Union that day. At one point, the subject of the instruction sheet came into play and it was then that Bianca suggested that we eat the paper to get rid of the waste.

So while the male members of our group watched (And filmed using the video feature on our digital camera), Katie R, Katie L, Bianca, and I ripped the two sheets of paper into small sections, divided them between us, and swallowed them.

I, having never eaten paper before was quite surprised by the taste (And thankfully I didn’t suffer a paper-cut to the tongue!) but I swallowed fast and ignored the bland dry feel that it left on my tongue.

It was during our paper-eating fiasco that our meal arrived which put all complaining (All of which was from the male side of our group, except for Lawrence) to a halt…

-well…at least for a few minutes.

Of course, not everyone was satisfied with one pizza and so we had to order a second pie to please the fussier members (Once again, basically all the guys save for Lawrence) of our eight-man team.


I demanded that we use the same box that the first had come in.

Some members were grossed out by this and complained about it, but thankfully the leaders of the two teams: Katie L and Bianca who held a position of power over the teams, the whiners’ demands were overruled and we were able to order our second pizza.

Then after the pizza box was once again cleaned of bread and cheese, Andres dropped the bomb.

He wanted dessert.

And everyone else agreed.

Luckily for us, we didn’t have to go far. At the U-Mart, they served ice-cream in cones without paper wrapped around the middle and so we each bought a cone and exited the Union with rather fully bellies and almost completely empty hands (Save for the pizza box; our only piece of trash).

Turns out we beat the two other teams Green and Orange (Who coincidentally also teamed up) by a long shot. They had cups, wrappers, and leftovers while we carried our single item proudly.

When they discovered that we had actually eaten our instruction sheets (And had it on film to prove it!) they laughed and demanded to see the video.

Needless to say…it was quite convincing.

It was a dark and humid night-

-and the batteries from our air conditioner controllers were missing, plus the manual control was not functioning.

NO AC!?” I moaned like a wounded animal and laid back on my bed. “You’ve got to be kidding me? Someone stole everyone’s batteries?”

My roommate, Katie L nodded solemnly. “That’s what Lydia and the others told me and you said you found the remote on the floor.”

I sat down on my bed and hissed. “Bet the cleaning ladies stole them…they do stuff like that, but why batteries?”

Katie shrugged and we both proceeded to change into our bedwear.

The night was going to be so looooooong.

‘It’s late…Almost one AM.’

I rolled over and glanced at Katie who had fallen fast asleep hours before. I sighed heavily and wiped the sweat glistening on my forehead. ‘How does anyone sleep in this heat? I’m practically dying here.’

Suddenly, I soft breeze whistled through the now open window, relieving me of the intense humidity for a few sweet seconds before it left, just as quickly as it had come.

I swallowed and closed my eyes.

‘Come on, Sand-man, cut me some slack and let me sleep. It’s gonna be such a long day tomorrow and I need whatever energy I can get to survive the car-trip.’

A whisper cut across my thoughts and I froze.


Then more whispering.

I glanced at Katie, wondering if she was simply talking in her sleep.

‘No…that’s more than one voice…’

Moonlight filtered through the room as the curtain was pulled open and the whispers ceased. All was quiet as I held my breath, my heart pounding hard against my ribs.

I heard a crinkle of paper and a figure stepped through the window. I recognized it almost instantly: the tall lean frame, short curly dark hair…had to be Andrew.

‘What the-‘

I watched as he made his way across the room, obviously looking for something. Just as he was passing by my bed, I impulsively sat up and hissed “What do you think you’re doing!”

He didn’t respond at all, not even looking at me and simply kept walking as though caught in a sudden daze. Once he disappeared into the bathroom, I bolted out of bed and flipped on the light.

He was gone.

But there was no way that he was outside of the room. I would have heard the door open had he made his escape. I glanced inside the shower and then the toilet before walking over to the window and looking out into the night.

Nothing but the waves rolling on the beach twenty meters beyond and the bright moon looming overhead.

‘Maybe I just imagined it all.’

I shook my head ‘No way’ and closed the window, locking it for good measure.

Adrenaline electrocuted my veins suddenly and I found myself running to Katie’s bedside, desperately shaking her awake. She rolled over and opened her eyes wearily, obviously not quite conscious. “What?”

“Katie! I think I just saw Andrew in our room! I swear it, he was right here!”

She closed her eyes and within a span of two seconds, was way gone from the land of the living.

I blinked and shook her again and got no response this time.

‘She sleeps like the dead.’ I mused as I grabbed my book and threw it on my empty bed before hopping onto the messy sheets myself and flicking off the light. ‘I bet he just went out through the door and I just didn’t hear it.’

But I wasn’t quite convinced and so I waited with bated breath.

Suddenly, I heard the creak of shower rungs and of hushed footsteps, the rattling of a door knob and then the slam of our front door.

I bolted out of bed, the sheets falling to the floor behind me as I flicked the lights back on and ripped open the door, seeing Andrew’s pajama clad back sprinting as fast as humanly possible down the hallway.

I smirked proudly and loudly called “I KNEW IT!” after him before shutting my door and locking it securely. I was still smirking as I marched back to Katie’s bed and pinched her awake this time. “I was so right! He was in our room and I caught him, Katie!”

She was gone before I even started my second sentence. I shrugged and hopped back into my own bed, turning off the lights.

‘I can’t believe it…they tried to prank us back!’ I giggled, remembering the shoe-locking escapade that I had participated in up at Mt. Lemmon where we had locked the boy’s shoes together and made them carry our luggage up to the vans in exchange for their sneakers.

‘But I caught them before they could do anything so I don’t have to give into their demands.’

I snuggled under the sweat-soaked sheets and smiled again. ‘I wonder what they were going to steal?…Meh, doesn’t matter because they didn’t get their grubby hands on anything, HA!!’

It was that moment that a small thought occurred to me.

‘Wait a minute…how did they know that the window would be open?’
My eyes widened as realization dawned and I banged my head against the pillow.


I checked my watch and exhaled. I hadn’t fallen asleep once that entire night due to the heat and I didn’t dare open the window again. My body was also still charged with energy from chasing Andrew, but I knew it wouldn't last long.

The night had been a long, lonely, miserable one.

‘Almost five AM….’

Standing, I stretched and yawned, padding over to my messily packed bag and removed a clean T-shirt, a pair of shorts, and some rolled up socks. Pulling on my well-worn sneakers, I quickly tied the laces, and still holding my flash-light, I walked out into the brightly-lit walk-way.

Following my nose to the large body of salt-water, I exhaled and stepped onto the sand. Sweat was pouring off my skin and soaking my previous clean clothing as I headed towards the beach chairs that the hotel provided. Even the cool breeze blowing wasn’t enough to break my almost fever-like sweat.

I sat down on the end of the sand-coated plastic just as the sun was rising and let out a hollow laugh.