On July 1, 1989 two fourth grade girls led an effort to pass an ordinance banning polystyrene foam (PSF) in Freeport, ME. It all started when they discovered a large amount of litter along the Royal River, sparking their concern for preserving the natural beauty, fish, and wildlife of their coastal town. They noticed that a significant amount of that litter was non-biodegradable fast food PSF containers. Their request to the local fast food store to change their practice of PSF food and beverage packaging was unsuccessful. So they decided to become more knowledgeable about the environmental impact of PSF and options to eliminate PSFs.
This led to their partnerships with adult stakeholders and allies, who helped the young women draft an ordinance that was presented to the Town Council. This ordinance banned the use of “PSF food and beverage containers for selling, serving, or packaging of any prepared food, meat, eggs, bakery products or other food” and took effect January 1, 1990.
The actions of these young women made national news and became the inspiration for the creation of Earth Force in 1994.
Earth Force is working to replicate the experience of those young women for young people across the country. Earth Force developed a classroom tool that combines high-quality STEM education with project-based learning and Action Civics to create an educational framework that engages young people in the application of classroom lessons to improve the environment and their communities.
To date Earth Force has helped over 300,000 young people become environmental citizens.