As "PTA President," Enviro-Girl freely admits to having political agendas and using her position to achieve certain goals. One of her Pet Projects is "Shop Locally Owned and Operated." To this end, she refuses to allow Student Appreciation Committee members to shop for popcicles and cookies at Sam's Club. Yes, she realizes the she's denying their nonprofit organization great savings, BUT, she points out, the local grocery store is the place that donates our Brain Bowl lunch and sponsors our town's Park & Rec soccer and baseball teams. It seems to her fundamentally wrong to spend money at a corporately-owned franchise in another city while asking the local guy to donate to their various causes throughout the year.
"Shop Locally Owned and Operated" extends to fundraisers, too. "Why should we sell wrapping paper made in Texas when we can sell Simon's Cheese made a few miles down the road?" Enviro-Girl reasons. "Let's get creative, ladies, and keep those dollars in the community so we all benefit!" Consequently, the children of Happyland Elementary never go door to door peddling magazine subscriptions and candles. Through alternative fundraising techniques, Enviro-Girl is proud to point out that the PTA's coffers have tripled since she took office, despite her "limitations" on fundraisers.
Enviro-Girl has engaged in tussles with school administrators, and raised a few issues to the school board, too. She's trying to reform the PTA from merely raising money and hostessing events like the Sock Hop and Happyland Family Fun Night into a political powerhouse. Her dream is to see a rotation of PTA members at every school board meeting advocating for new (read: not broken) playground equipment, more funds allocated to curriculum development (read: instead of the annual budget cuts), and improved technology in the classrooms (read: classrooms need more than 1 computer). Enviro-Girl treads lightly, however, realizing that this violates Happyland's PTA long and distinguished history of Not Aggravating Others. She's cautiously and steadily molding political activists.
Last week Enviro-Girl used her power to benefit another Pet Project--abolishing bottled water. It comes as no surprise to people who know Enviro-Girl that she thinks bottled water is wasteful, redundant, and polluting. She has a close friend who took on Nestle Corporation to keep a water bottling plant out of Wisconsin and she presses people she knows to refuse bottled water and drink the tap water they've already paid for. Bottled water is a Huge Environmental Issue.
The PTA Vice-President emailed Enviro-Girl asking how much bottled water she should purchase for Staff Appreciation Week (the PTA organizes a breakfast and a lunch for Happyland Elementary's staff). Enviro-Girl saw the opening and jumped on it. "Why don't we invest in some 2 or 5-gallon beverage coolers and fill them with juice, lemonade, iced tea and water? We could use the coolers at all PTA events--5th grade graduation, staff meals, and the Sock Hop," she suggested. "I realize it would cost more upfront, but in the long run we would save money and reduce waste generated by plastic bottles. What do you think?"
The Vice-President had not thought, not because she is a bad or destructive person, simply because she doesn't give environmental issues much consideration. When presented with the issue, the Vice-President agreed. "I'll go price out some coolers--that's a great idea" she replied. And she did. (Which goes to show how most people are easy converts for environmental causes.)
Beginning next week the Happyland PTA will no longer purchase bottled water for its events. Enviro-Girl is pleased with this small victory and looks forward to eliminating bottled water from the Park and Rec League soon.