By Ruby Ford
Many of this year's Youth & Government conference delegates have written legislation in favor of caring for our environment. These individuals have taken the initiative to eradicate some of the most relevant and controversial issues and concerns about our daily habits and lifestyles and its effect on the world we live in. The main goal of the majority of these delegates is to emphasise the importance of taking action in our communities now. They have acknowledged the fact that whatever it is that we do today will gradually take its course and reveal its detrimental effects that have been caused due to the ignorance and apathy amongst others about the subject. According to these delegates, it is safe to say that we are the change we want to see in our world.
While interviewing representative Kaitlyn Antle and Jenn Hays, both explain how they witness the mistreatment of their communities on a daily basis. Their way to solve this problem was by creating legislative bill #GH 12. This is a bill that consists of laws and restrictions regarding the penalties for citizens who litter. According to the authors of this bill, it is a piece of legislation that will promote a better alternative to the penalty for littering while also working to improve the environment. Most delegates who have opposed this bill argue that section 2, regarding funding, is completely unnecessary. It states that funds are obtained from the fines paid for parking violations. The problem with this is that those fines are typically spent to cover things such as public safety, education, and other miscellaneous costs that may be left for the state.
Officer bill #GS 23 can be defined as a crucial start to the beginning of a healthy environment in Ohio. By placing a 10 cent tax on the distribution of non-recyclable bags, and a 5 cent tax on all other plastic bags distributed in retail or grocery stores in the state of Ohio, citizens are encouraged to use more eco-friendly resources such as cloth or paper bags. These taxes will then go towards the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. This bill causes awareness in not only the streets of our communities and landfills in our towns, but also in marine ecosystems. It sheds a light on the detrimental affects our actions have caused in ecosystems we don't even reside in. The authors Sara Schmidt and Joey Metzger show a great interest and an immense amount of knowledge on the impact plastic bags have had on our environment. During the presentation of this bill, opposing delegates have argued that the recycled bags are harder to reuse once they have been used by consumers.
The effort of this year’s Youth & Government delegates to improve our environment is truly admirable and should be recognized by many. Authors of bills consisting of environmental issues who have not been as fortunate to pass committee and session hearings, should take what they have learned during this year’s conference and make their bills stronger than ever. It is important to continue to pursue what is most important to the people and what will have a tremendous impact on generations to come. We are the people who have a say so in what will happen.