Senior Alexandra Buckely Makes Bench Out Of Plastic Water Bottles


Amy Carranza, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Many still believe they cannot do or say anything about certain matters. One thinks that they’re “too ordinary” or “too clueless” to contribute to a movement that is labeled “bigger than oneself,” like Black Lives Matter, United Teachers Los Angeles, or climate change. 

Sure, there are corporate companies and influencers who address and bring awareness to these issues, but what separates this Venice High Gondolier from the rest is her ability to highlight her contributions despite being an everyday civilian.

Senior Lexie Buckley has been a Girl Scout since the second grade, and has recently received the Gold Award for a project she’d brainstormed for over two years and worked on for four months.

 “The Girl Scouts Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn,” Buckley said. “It’s essentially a community service award in which the girl must improve her community in a permanent way.”

The requirements for this service project include a commitment of eighty hours total and must continually benefit the community. 

“I’m a very organized person,” she said. “I succeed when I plan things out and struggle when I don’t, so I spent four weekends collecting bottles, until I had created a bench,” said Buckley.

Buckley chose to play to her strengths as a climate change advocate and build two benches for Marina Del Rey Middle School out of plastic bottles.

“To make the benches, I cleaned each bottle and bottle cap, and filled each with mortar,” she said. “Once they dried, they acted as bricks, which I stacked on top of each other.”.

Buckley is an alumni of Marina Del Rey and recalls the start of her passion for the fight against climate change in the sixth grade. That experience has influenced her decision to major in marine biology. 

Buckley speaks highly about environmental awareness, as she feels this generation will be the last chance to save the world’s future.

“My parents didn’t learn about the severity of these issues, and I don’t want the next generations of kids to have to grow up like we did,” Buckley said. 

“I’m also very empathetic, which is where my interest in environmental conservation comes from. I get emotional easily when it comes to how other people and things are being treated in the world.”

In order to start her service project though, she was tasked to find a community partner, someone to seal the deal, but that brought more stress into an already stressful time. 

Luckily for her, a teacher at Marina was willing to do the project. 

Buckley still had one more hurdle to cross, though: presenting her work to the students when she was finished.

As of now, Buckley is doing a competition with some of the middle school students, challenging them to make animal statues out of recyclables and non-recyclables. 

Although the students may use any materials they wish, Buckley chose to visit the Ballona Creek when her project was approved with the go-ahead.

“I chose the location because I go running there every weekend, and I always saw all the trash, which was really upsetting since I didn’t really know what to do about it,” she said.

While going to the creek meant progress, it also meant doing a full-on clean-up half the time, and often, Buckley would find the creek just as before, mainly littered with Hot Cheeto bags and Dasani water bottles. 

She experienced frustration knowing this project is an act against ocean pollution, and people are consistently impacting the environments around their lives.

“I would go to the creek two weeks in a row, come back the second weekend and it looked like I hadn’t been there the weekend before,” Buckley said. 

“And there’s still more trash than before.”

In spite of there not being only one tried and true answer to this climate change, Buckley wishes to keep searching for ways to conserve the planet, and hopes this project will bring her more opportunities to talk about the environment.

“Obviously, making these benches isn’t going to solve climate change, but it’s helping me take a step to spread the word, and I feel like in college I’ll be able to pursue other projects like this and say, ‘This is what I did in high school,’” she said.