Andrea Terry and Mark Bunnell stopped by Rancho Milpitas Middle School this month to talk trash during a Waste Reduction Production sponsored by the City of Milpitas.
“We’re going to talk about landfills and pollution,” Terry said in opening the second 25-minute EarthCapades assembly that was held for eighth-graders on Nov. 16. “We’re also going to talk about how we in the United States have the dubious honor of creating more trash than in any other nation in our planet.”
“So let me get this straight,” Bunnell replied. “Russia has the most land (mass), China’s got the most people and we in the United States have the most trash?”
The duo created a memorable performance by combing comedy, juggling, guitar playing, singing, unicycling and more all to address the impact the ever-growing 7-billion worldwide population has made on our quickly diminishing natural resources, and how to be creative and more effective with conservation efforts.
The music pulls in students, engages them and allows you to tell facts and stories in a storytelling fashion instead of it being a quiet, dry lecture,” Bunnell said following the performance.
Specifically designed for middle schoolers, the Waste Reduction Production had the audience participating throughout the show while learning the Rs: REDUCE the amount of trash we create and resources we use, REUSE everyday products, RECYCLE properly, ROT food and organic scraps into compost and RESPECT Planet Earth.
“Only one out of five plastic bottles makes it to the recycling bin,” Bunnell said.
“Not to mention just one bottle of water takes approximately seven to 10 bottles worth of water to create…” Terry said.
Because it can be a juggling act to keep things out of the landfill that don’t belong there including petroleum, Bunnell called upon an audience member to help him place the items in an area depicting where they should be properly placed.
“Here’s the thing, you can’t do this alone,” he said. “ÉWe’re going to demonstrate, metaphorically speaking, how to really have commitment here.”
Terry added it is important for everyone to be cognizant of addressing the issue, especially because so much waste comes from local households.
“California households alone create four and a half pounds of trash every single day,” Terry said. “Only 28 percent of our trash is actually recycled. Six billion beverage containers were not recycled last year alone. So we’re creating a ton of trash and we’re running out of space.”
They then demonstrated the teamwork and effort it’s going to take to reduce waste by sharing six tips of the day represented by juggling clubs.
“We’re going to start all six clubs on the ground, introducing them one at a time as we add another tip,” Terry said.
They included: buy less stuff, don’t contaminate recycling, buy in bulk, ditch disposable, get reusable and cut back on mail.
“35 million trees get cut down every single year for mail that we don’t even read, junk mail,” Bunnell said. “Here in Milpitas, if you call the recycling center they will put you on a junk mail program that reduces almost all of their junk mail and it takes a phone call.”
Karen Hengst, a Rancho teacher who also coordinates the recycling program there, worked to bring EarthCapades to the school with support from Leslie Stobbe of the City of Milpitas.
“These assemblies tie in with science standards and with the promotion of saving our environment and recycling,” Hengst said.
A group of her students shared their thoughts on EarthCapades and recycling at large following that day’s assembly.
Jazmen Edwards says she regularly picks up cans while Destinee Avalos and Oxalie Amezcua share proper facts about what can and cannot be recycled with their family members.
“I like when the kids seem inspired and when you see that light in their eyes. That’s a pretty cool thing ,” Bunnell said of why they continue to perform for EarthCapades.
EarthCapades performs at festivals, theaters and in thousands of schools from coast to coast, and in 2003 EarthCapades expanded to include another team of performers than just the original leadership.
Today there are numerous teams of “EarthCapaders” performing across the country, collaborating with public educational outreach organizations, environmental health organizations, private foundations, schools and festivals throughout the United States and Canada to reach more 100,000 students, teachers and families every year.
Bunnell and Terry were scheduled to perform at Thomas Russell Middle School on Nov. 21 and Curtner Elementary School on Nov. 27 in Milpitas following the Rancho performance, and have future dates scheduled at Sinnott, Pomeroy, Spangler, Burnett, Randall and Weller elementary schools.
“We’re really proud of specializing now after all these years in how to take a funny show with comedy and juggling and excitement and to integrate bullet points and carry a message throughout, being able to reinforce the message, give the rationale behind the message and to have that all done in a customized show,” Bunnell said. “It’s something we’ve really worked hard on and we’re proud of being effective at that.”
For more information about EarthCapades or to submit a school assembly request form, call (650) 557-4258 or visit earthcapades.com.
Contact Shannon Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-262-2454 . Visit us on our social media sites at facebook.com/milpitas post and twitter.com/milpitaspost.