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Saving planet is up to students

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - Updated: 9:18 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

LONG LAKE–Having a healthy planet Earth might very well rest with those who aren't not yet old enough to vote.

This was the essence of a presentation made in the Long Lake Central School gym on Monday morning, Jan. 14, by Brian Stilwell, an educator from the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) who was joined by Jen Kretser, Director of Programs from The Wild Center/Adirondack Youth Climate Summit who sponsored the event.

Stilwell began by stating, “ACE has presented climate change information to more than one million students throughout the country. If we are going to fix this planet, you are the ones who are going to do it.

Using charts, graphic and animation videos, Stilwell focused on the growth of energy consumption and green house gases, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), that has resulted in a warming planet.

Stilwell said, “Oceans and trees can absorb CO2 but have a limit. Ideally, CO2 should be about 300 parts per million (ppm) but are now at 390 ppm and rising, primarily the result of burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.”

Stilwell said the danger from the steady increases of CO2 in the atmosphere and the global warming this is causing are more extreme storms such as hurricane Sandy, more frequent heat waves, the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, and the rise in ocean levels.

“Small increases in global average temperatures can have large effects,” said Stilwell.

According to Stilwell, much of what needs to be done can only be done by adults in business and the government. But all can help at the individual level, including children and their parents.

“Saving the planet can happen while saving money,” said Stilwell, “and this can be done by reducing, reusing and recycling, three great ways you can eliminate waste and protect your environment.”

Some simple methods everyone can do suggested by Stilwell included using cloth towels in place of paper towels, composting, taking shorter showers, turning of lights and consolidating driving.

Students Megan Smith and Prudence Dechene asked for and received permission to start a Green Team club in 2011 and have been active ever since in the club’s goal of making the school and the community environmentally friendly through an interactive educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, reuse, recycling, gardening and composting.

As a result of this meeting, several students agreed to take the DOT pledge to Do One Thing to help the environment. DOT could be as simple as recycle more, unplug gadgets when not in use, drive less, bike or walk more, and use a reusable bottle.

Stilwell said, “If one in three Americans ditched disposable bottles for a reusable one, it would be like taking 1 million cars off the road each year.”

For more information on ACE, go to: http://www.acespace.org/

     

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