Student Ambitions for Going Green

I’ve mentioned before that I’m part of a Going Green initiative at our school.  We have a student group that meets Tuesdays during lunch.  A parent who’s an expert in the field is graciously consulting us.  The school itself is interested in becoming environmentally sustainable.  The community is open to our efforts.   So, even though our forces are small, the experience is productive and positive.

We completed the garbage audit (four posts in January were dedicated to this) and are putting together a proposal to reduce waste.  The students have launched several “reduce energy” campaigns that included a day of turning the heat down to the lowest setting all day and “lights off Fridays”.  Using our live portal with the electric/gas company the students collect the data from these different events and create charts and graphs illustrating the effect of our reducing energy efforts.  A goal is to reduce energy consumption by 5% this year.  The students are also preparing themselves to present to the greater school and neighborhood community in order to launch a fundraising drive.  This drive will initially fund the installation of solar panels for which the school has already received a subsidy commitment from the city.  The long-term vision is to have the school able to put energy back on the grid and to ultimately be a fueling station for electric cars.  It’s ambitious. 

The students are not overwhelmed with their task and dutifully show up each Tuesday at lunch working slowly and steadily towards their goals.  Yesterday the student group met during lunch knowing that they would be meeting during today’s lunch with our consultant as well.  However, today the consultant had work obligations and requested that we postpone until Friday.  I was mentally already filling the time with other things (lab preparations, printing, meeting with the EAL advisor, etc.).  The students arrived in my classroom and I told them we’d be postponing until Friday.  Their response?  “Let’s watch a TedTalk on global warming”.  OK!  Fortunately I have a few tagged and saved in my bookmarks bar. 

It is an honor to work with students who are truly interested in an issue and who sincerely desire change, even if it costs me three lunch periods out of the week!