Senior takes eco-friendly action from home


Photo courtesy of Quinn Rector

Quinn Rector holds up a bag of trash she collected outside of Bothell High School during one of her many trash walks.

As the nation begins to accept environmental problems as a burgeoning crisis, senior Quinn Rector changes her own daily habits in favor of more eco-friendly actions.

“I think it’s a very important issue in the world right now, but it hasn’t gained a lot of traction yet in the United States,” Rector said.

Despite always being interested in science, Rector said that it was when a forest was cut down next to her house early on in her life that she began looking into environmental issues more seriously.

“That impacted me,” Rector said.

The loss of the forest encouraged her to consider different ways she could make an impact on her community and the larger global environment. For the first couple of years, Rector simply researched environmental issues — especially climate change — following blogs and global events.

“I found it interesting,” Rector said. “It sort of became a hobby.”

This year, however, her interest in the environment took on a different form as Rector decided to start making real changes. For her New Year’s resolution, she made goals for herself centered around the United Nations sustainability goals. Rector said she works on cutting plastics, meat and waste in her daily routine as well as conserving energy with shorter showers and turning lights off.

She also goes on frequent trash walks around her neighborhood. Being near a high school campus, there usually is a large amount of litter to pick up.

“It’s an exercise thing, but it also lets me help out the community in at least this way,” Rector said.

Rector began posting the changes she’s been making to her daily life on social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram to keep herself accountable. Yet, she was startled when people started to repost her activities.

“Now, I’m held much more accountable for [my work],” Rector said,” but I enjoy it more because of it. People keep coming to ask me questions about it. It’s really cool.”

Though most of her environmentally conscious activities are individually focused, Rector’s growing following allows her to make impacts on a larger scale. Rector said, “I think that because I have a bit of a platform, I can maybe convince some other people to make some small changes.”

As she reflects on all that she’s done so far, Rector says that she’s impressed with how much more than she’s learned about the environment and about herself. Her personal activism and interest in the environment has motivated her to further her knowledge and involvement by pursuing a degree in either oceanography or marine biology, specifically pertaining to either marine or terrestrial conservation.

“It’s a job that I’m interested in,” Rector said. “[My experience] has mostly taught me showing that small life changes can have an impact — on the community as well as on myself. And I want to continue making an impact.”