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Earth Day, Day 3: How Does Palmetto Counteract Climate Change?

April 17, 2019

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Earth Day, Day 3: How Does Palmetto Counteract Climate Change?

Sustainability. A word most people know too well and hear too often.

“In simple terms, sustainability is a consideration of the delicate environment in everyday life,” Student Council Environmental Outreach Chair, Chloe Wilson said. “For instance, using a reusable water bottle or a lunch bag, recycling old phones or computers.”

While climate change constantly hangs over our heads, we often fail to realize the enormity of the situation. According to NASA Global Climate Change, the records for highest temperatures  increased since the 1950s and surface temperatures also increased about two degrees Fahrenheit, which provides evidence for global warming.

Rightfully recognizing the dangers of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Miami Palmetto Senior High supports the motive  to create a more sustainable school.

“The school participates in a old, used phone drive to harvest the precious metals for use through the Science National Honor Society, which also provides the necessary funding for the club if we win,” Wilson said. “Right now, we are looking into being speakers to encourage other students to become more informed on the matter.”

Attempting to become more eco-friendly, Palmetto also touches upon water conservation. “The school also installed water fountains for water bottles to encourage people to use recyclable bottles,” Wilson said.

These fountains display the number of plastic bottles saved from waste, which gives students perspective on the impact of small changes they can make.

Along with these changes set in place, students participate in Palmetto’s own program to help the lives of silverback gorillas.

“The drive is called Go Bananas,” Wilson said. “Because it’s meant to discourage the harvesting of tantalum which destroys the habitats of silverback gorillas.”

Taught by Advanced Placement Environmental Science teacher, Pamela Schlachtman, the Solar Energy class tackles climate change through their group projects. #TurnItOff campaign, comprised of juniors Benjamin Goldstein, Aidan Katsikas, Paul Nameth, Daniel Rodriguez, and Logan Spiegelman, specifically focuses on vampire power, which is electrical power consumed even while appliances are off or on standby. They study how the reduction of this power can help conserve energy.

“This community service project is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issues of vampire power and those pertaining to energy efficiency,” junior Daniel Rodriguez said.

The group focused on learning about the school’s energy consumption, and the effects of it.

“We have calculated how much money for the school and how many pounds of CO2 emissions can be saved each year by doing one simple change which was, in this case, changing the 1000s wing to automatic sensors for lights since they’re often left on,” junior Benjamin Goldstein said.

Vampire power alone heavily contributes to the overall issues of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Ten percent of all household energy use is caused by vampire power used by idle appliances,” junior Paul Nameth said. “An average household could save about $150 a year by reducing this usage and reduce carbon emissions by 1,500 pounds per year.”

The group wants people to contain more awareness , especially concerning the issues of energy consumption.

“You’re obviously going to have a lot of appliances and electronics that are going to be plugged in, like your TV, it’s always plugged in, but there are a lot of other appliances and some electronics [that do not need to be plugged in],” Nameth said. “So through [unplugging appliances not in use] we could save a lot of money as a community and individuals and cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Along with the #TurnItOff team, all Solar Students participate in this project to promote sustainability at Palmetto and ultimately help save the state of the environment.

“It’s for the Lexus Eco Competition, in which basically you have to address some environmental or global issue,” Goldstein said. “Ours is pertaining to sustainability, greenhouse gases in particular.”

People can make a huge impact with environmental consciousness  Every sustainable choice makes a difference, which #TurnItOff wants to convey.

“It’s the small things that all add up because at the end of the day if enough people enact the same change, no matter the size of the contribution, it’s all going to add up,” junior Logan Spiegelman said.

As our fellow students explained, next time you charge your phone, once you are done, make sure to unplug the charger.

“It’s very easy to reduce vampire energy,” junior Aidan Katsikas said. “Unplugging devices in your house like chargers, printers, and powerstrips can reduce the amount of wasted energy.”

If you are thinking of bringing a water bottle to school, try bringing a reusable bottle.  Every eco-friendly action eventually can lead to a positive overall effect.

“Final words,” Rodriguez said. “Simple changes make big differences.”

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