Environmental Engagement

Our school has a number of initiatives that are used to help the environment but, I don’t think it’s enough. 

We pick up trash in the spring. Sometimes at lunch, there are recycling bins for plastics, but not all the time. 

A common way to look at the environment is to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

Schools have historically reduced the amount of paper being used by switching to an online homework and education system. We try to recycle plastics and trash lying around the school. But recycling efforts are inconsistent and often things that are meant to be recycled are thrown away. 

The biggest contributors to pollution are buildings and vehicles. 

There are only a few initiatives that are in place here at Grand Haven, like the recycling bins the Green Club rents out for sporting events and the water bottle stations. Grand Haven also does an earth day clean up but, much more can still be done. 

I know there is more we can do to help the environment. The area of reducing is our biggest opportunity to improve.

We can reduce our energy consumption by switching fluorescent lights to an LED alternative. This would be a big improvement because it is a lower cost to operate, has a longer lifespan and uses less energy. This will lower the school’s energy bill and reduce the demand on the power distribution grid.

Another idea to improve buildings would be using renewable energy sources, like wind, solar and wave motion. 

There is always a breeze coming off Lake Michigan and no one is taking advantage of the free energy. Wind turbines can be put all around Grand Haven to capitalize on the idea.

Solar energy would also be easy to obtain as well. If only there was a class that could engineer a project and we had a giant unused flat surface available like the roof … wait. We have both of those things and no one is doing anything. The sun does not have to be blazing for solar panels to work. Come on, people. The engineering students should design a solar energy solution for the school.

Kinetic energy from the waves is always available as well. A buoy system would always be producing energy. They look great and generate energy forever. On a calm day, the sun would be out so it is perfect for solar panels too.

Every single day we have either big waves, windy conditions or sunny skies. We have the perfect combination to capitalize on renewable energy but yet we do nothing. Using a renewable energy source would be cleaner and cheaper than depending on the high polluting coal-burning power plants.

An idea to improve on vehicles would be charging stations for electric cars. The cities of Muskegon and Holland both have electric car charging stations to promote electric car usage. We are behind on this new opportunity.

There is no reason why our school should not have this electric car charging station array to promote electric car usage and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

One of the barriers that prevent people from buying electric cars is that there is no place to plug the car in. I drive a Nissan Leaf, I am able to plug my car in at 28 different places in Holland and 12 different places in Muskegon. Unfortunately, there are no charging stations in Grand Haven and electric car drivers, have to plan their trips carefully.  

The lack of electric car charging stations is one of the key reasons why few people have them.

Driving an electric car is really beneficial. I don’t have to pay for gas, which is a great feeling in two ways. I get to save my money and I’m not harming the environment. It’s a win-win.

If we really wanted to make a change in the environment then we should put more focus on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and start using these methods in more effective ways.  

http://carboncounter.com/How much Co2 does your car emit?