By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Each day, thousands of plastic bags needlessly end up in our oceans and in landfills around the world. Each day, the earth is polluted further and further. Now, communities are trying to reduce their pollution and make the world a better place. Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to make a difference in this ongoing struggle.
Evan Michaeli knew something had to be done in his local communities.
Michaeli spent 6th grade at a school near the ocean. Because it was located near the ocean, the school taught its students a lot about environmental science and the problems occurring because of pollution. "Later, our class went to the Volvo Ocean Race and presented in front of thousands of people about coral, coral bleaching and why coral should be saved,” explained Michaeli. “This opened my mind to how I can save the world from plastic pollution."
Inspired by his schoolwork, Michaeli went on to work on getting bags banned in two different towns: Portsmouth, RI, and Dedham. Both towns involved fairly different processes for getting bags banned.
Michaeli worked with his school to get bags banned in Portsmouth for over a year. "For Portsmouth, we first had to do research,” he said. “The research is key, because it is factual and shows what is really happening in the world. Then, we went to town hall. At town hall, we presented facts and key details, along with pictures of the ocean and animals covered with plastic. The first time they passed the law, they … only [voted to] go further in the process. The second time, though, we got the law voted on and eventually passed and is now intact.”
Currently, Michaeli is trying to get bags banned in Dedham. "Dedham though, will be tougher,” he acknowledged. “First, I presented facts to a committee that decided to allow me to join to help them ban bags in Dedham. We had to do more research and we wrote the bylaw. Then we educated the Board of Health and the Board of Selectman. Hopefully, this process will be done a year from when we started. Also, instead of 80 people, I will present in front of 207."
Luckily, Michaeli isn’t worried, despite being in the toughest part of the process for the Dedham ban. “The hardest part about the project is waiting for the vote to be decided. It comes down to your effort, work and persuasion. Luckily, I have passed the bylaw once so far, and I am more confident and less worried this time.”
Michaeli has plenty to keep him busy as he awaits news on the Dedham bag ban. In addition to working on two bag bans, the soon-to-be eighth-grader had organized a way to ensure that his school has eco-friendliness on the brain. “I started a Green Club at my school, Dedham Country Day, with my brother, Drew, and another friend. We submitted a proposal to the school to reduce the use of plastic water bottles at campus-run events. On top of that, I also would like to see plastic straws, water bottles, and Styrofoam all banned at one point. Though we need to take it one step at a time.”
With such determination to make the world a better place, there is no doubt that Michaeli’s efforts will make a huge difference.