Earth Week 2016: “What Will You Do With What You Know?”

Illustration+courtesy+of+Jeewon+Shin+%2717

Illustration courtesy of Jeewon Shin ’17

Earth, the lush, aquatic, Goldilocks planet, has been supporting all kinds of life for billions of years –and it is now becoming sick. Every year, an average of 9 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted, and to no surprise, this number is increasing year after year. Such greenhouse gas emissions are causing serious problems: global warming, climate change, rising sea-levels, shrinking water supply, just to name a few. Horrifically, since the Industrial Revolution, the average global temperature has risen 1.6 degrees. Another 0.4 degree Fahrenheit rise is predicted to bring unprecedented changes in the global climate and severe natural disasters, taking the world to the dreaded “point of no return.”

 

The week of April 18 to April 22 was the Loomis Chaffee Earth Week: the school’s way of celebrating the precious Earth we live on and spreading awareness about the numerous ways that will help preserve the lushness of Earth for future generations. Several Environmental Proctors (E-Proctors) have worked hands-on to bring several student environmental initiatives to campus.

 

One, as many students already know of and have participated in, is the Earth Week fundraiser. During both lunches at the dining hall, E-Proctors and Agricultural Proctors (Ag-Proctors) sold Earth Day T-shirts, Lake Champlain sustainable/fair trade chocolates, and homemade recycled notebooks. They made just over $300 which will be put towards environmental projects around campus. This includes the construction and placement of bat houses towards the NAIS 20/20 (a project that promotes biodiversity and protection of endangered species on campus), and a pear tree that will be planted to honor the service of eleven seniors graduating as Environmental and Agricultural Proctors.

 

Furthermore , in honor of Earth Week, the Gilchrist Environmental Fellowship put up an exhibit titled “Climate Change: Two Fragile Ecosystems” in the second floor of Clark. The exhibit features a mix of photos from our two climate Change Research trips –the Arctic in 2014 and Joshua Tree National Park in 2016 –and they aim to spread the passion and enthusiasm of Loomis students who deeply care about the Earth and its environment. In an interview with Jocelyn Chen ’19 who was part of the Joshua Tree trip, she talked about the fascinating of life that populates all parts of our Earth –even in sandy deserts. She recounts her experience: “We worked mainly with biologists…and botanists mostly, and it was really fun working alongside them to get a variety of perspective. We also learned a lot about the fragile desert ecosystem and how much life there is even though from distance it looks like plain area of sand.” So next time, before you walk to your math or science class, be sure to check out all the photos the display has to offer!

 

Furthermore , in honor of Earth Week, the Gilchrist Environmental Fellowship put up an exhibit titled “Climate Change: Two Fragile Ecosystems” in the second floor of Clark. The exhibit features a mix of photos from our two climate Change Research trips –the Arctic in 2014 and Joshua Tree National Park in 2016 –and they aim to spread the passion and enthusiasm of Loomis students who deeply care about the Earth and its environment. In an interview with Jocelyn Chen ’19 who was part of the Joshua Tree trip, she talked about the fascinating of life that populates all parts of our Earth –even in sandy deserts. She recounts her experience: “We worked mainly with biologists…and botanists mostly, and it was really fun working alongside them to get a variety of perspective. We also learned a lot about the fragile desert ecosystem and how much life there is even though from distance it looks like plain area of sand.” So next time, before you walk to your math or science class, be sure to check out all the photos the display has to offer!

 

During the talk, the main topic that emerged was making the environmental issues personal: How can we strive to make such a large-scale issue like environmental, climate change to a focused, personal level? Throughout the talk and also in the convocation the next day, Pete Dominick continuously stressed the importance of Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” He relates the quote and how that has impacted individuals as he claims that “that’s what Dr. Kamal did. If you advocate for renewable energy, but yet you yourself aren’t committed to certain acts, then you’re a hypocrite… [Make] the issue personal, and that’s how you make a difference.” Dr. Kamal further stresses the importance for students to take matters to their own hand. “I’m here to also share with you our understanding of how [the issue] relates to all of us,” he passionately explains, “because no matter where we are on Earth, we breathe the same air, we stand on the same ground, we drink the same water, and we are under the same sun … And maybe it takes a little bit of effort in our part to see that we are not just “I” in my little body, but that my mind is bigger than my body, and when we make that connection, “I” am part of nature.” In the convocation, Dr. Kamal shared several slides of his involvement in using solar photovoltaic (PV) cells to capture sunlight as a renewable energy. As one who has attended the convocation could blatantly note, Dr. Kamal’s photos were from different countries all over the world, highlighting a global impetus in preventing further climate change on Earth. After all, research has shown that just one hour of sunlight striking Earth’s surface has enough energy to power the world’s economy for a year! Learning about ways to harness such potential energy source and spreading awareness are just the first steps towards gradually moving away from fossil fuels, natural gas, and greenhouse gas emissions
The effectiveness and the cost efficiency of renewable energy sources such as the use of solar panels have been proven by various users like Dr. Kamal and Pete Dominick. Jason Liu, a junior in Loomis, takes matters to his own hand and proposes to bring solar PV cells to Loomis as part of his senior project. Even if it takes few years to put the plans into action, Jason strongly believes that the school community will benefit greatly from the shift to using a renewable energy source. The Earth Week had an overall inspirational drive that hopefully reached the hearts of many individuals on campus. It is imperative to realize that changes in Earth will eventually directly impact our lives and that we all roll our sleeves up and endeavor to find ways to get involved in solving environmental/ climate crises. With passion and enthusiasm springing up from various parts of LC school community such as the E-Proctor initiatives, celebrations of events like Earth Day, and Gilchrist Environmental Fellowship sponsored trips, more and more people can join in being the change we all want to see on Earth in the future.