Reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Hasmik Djoulakian

(May 24, 2012) — Earth Day came and went. Meanwhile, the Environmental Club has been working on a nationwide competition hosted by the Alliance for Climate Education. They have been measuring and collecting data, documenting and keeping track of their measurements, and are making considerable headway in the Biggest Loser: Energy Challenge. The goal is to encourage teachers to consume as little energy as possible. Alex Day-Blattner as club advisor has been guiding the club members and is one of the teachers participating in the competition. “ The competition gives us all more information about how the energy we use is linked to so many other effects that we don’t normally think about,” Day-Blattner said. She feels that it is important to understand how little by little the amount of energy we use adds up to become a dangerous amount. Day-Blattner attended a weekend leadership training with junior Neil Montague during which time their vision of how the competition would pan out became much clearer. They were taught how to plan their project and the necessary attitude and work ethic they would need to see it through. Senior Jessica Palacios and the rest of the club members are for 15 days keeping track of how many hours a day the lights and certain appliances in her assigned teachers’ classrooms are kept turned on. She will plug those numbers into the online calculator and find out exactly how much energy has been conserved over the past few weeks. Teachers are encouraged to minimize the hours they keep their lights and various appliances turned on, especially during the 15-day tracking period. “It would be great to be recognized for whatever we do conserve,” said Palacios. “Even if we aren’t, we’ll be proud of ourselves because the point isn’t to win; it’s to inform others of the need to conserve energy.” Sophie Korn, who works for the Alliance for Climate Education, gave a presentation on February 17 about the importance of actively working to reduce the harmful emissions given off by many things, including everyday appliances. Along with raising awareness for climate change, this is the purpose of the Biggest Loser Challenge and the Alliance for Climate Education itself; it is what Palacios feels is crucial for everyone to do on a daily basis, not just those who are involved in the club and the competition. Day-Blattner agrees that actually making conscious efforts to work towards these goals is what really matters. “ It is easy to sit in a fun assembly and be fired up about helping the environment and making a difference in the world,” Day-Blattner said. “It is more difficult to follow through.”