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Rylie Myers

Cape Henlopen HS, 9th grade

Raising Awareness

“Climate change should not be our problem, but that does not mean we should not be the solution.” This phase has been used widely throughout youth climate change discussions all around the world. NASA states that the “greenhouse effect” has caused climate change, since the mid-20th century scientists have observed this problem. Around half of the Sun’s light energy reaches Earth’s atmosphere and passes through to the surface. It is then radiated into infrared heat, 90% of the heat is then gone to greenhouse gasses and re-radiated, slowing heat loss to space. There are many ways we can help with climate change in our schools, the main three are, learning about climate change through clubs, seeing if your school is partnered with the ENERGY STAR for k-12 program, and one we all know and love, reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

In my school we have the green club, they focus on helping our environment by reducing pollution and raising awareness. Twice a week some members come in early to school to go through all of the recycling bins to make sure that everything in should be there and they take out the trash that should not be there. This is because if there is one piece of trash in a recycling bin the whole goes to the landfill instead of being recycled. The club raises awareness by putting up posters around the school. These posters show what you can and can’t recycle, they give information on climate change we can individually do to slow it down, and they have social media accounts that post frequently to raise awareness to our problem with climate change and how we can fight against it. Another way to implement climate change solutions is having your school district partner with ENERGY STAR. 

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. When school districts partner with this program they help identify underperforming buildings and verify savings. They allow your school districts energy performance to other buildings around the nation. They help lower the cost of ground-source heat pumps, solar energy system, and energy storage. ENERGY STAR also supports the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure, this plan advises investments into more efficient, energy-saving school buildings. The program also helps establish the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, it gives the ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund). This fund provides funding for K-12 schools to maintain healthy facilities and improve ventilation to reduce transmission of COVID-19. The funds can be used for inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities. The ENERGY STAR program does great things not just for your school, but the rest of the schools in your district. Even if your school does not have a green club or is partnered with ENERGY STAR, you can still reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Finally, we have come to the famous and much-loved strategy to combat climate change, reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is the easiest way to make an impact against climate change, it is focusing on the little things. You can reduce by limiting your carbon footprint by going on the bus or walking to school, using a laptop instead of a desktop if it is available, you can plant trees around you school if administration allows it, and you can use your electrics smartly by turning it off when you’re not using it and unplugging it when there is enough charge to get by. You can reuse by having reusable lunch utensils and trays, bring your lunch in reusable containers and bags, used metal water bottles (not plastic ones), and uses things from home to make your projects, like egg cartons, magazines, grocery bags, and plastic cups/lids from take out or fast food. Finally, you can recycle by making sure there are many accessible recycling bins around your school. It is a bonus if the bin has an infographic on the front showing teachers and students what they can and cannot recycle. 

All in all, learning about climate change through clubs, partnering with the ENERGY STAR for k-12 program, and reducing, reusing, and recycling are three ways we can all do to help our world in fighting against climate change. Making a green club to raise awareness about climate change and what we can do to help. Advocating for your district to partner with the ENERGY STAR for K-12 program to limit the danger our schools do to our planet. Reducing, reusing and recycling to limit our carbon footprint and save our world. If we keep damaging our planet at this rate scientists predict that a third of the Earth’s animal and plant species will be extinct by 2050. Is it really that worth it to make a TikTok or send a Snapchat or is it more important to save our world from extinction? 


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