Earth Week allows us to show our appreciation for the life we have in the United States and the importance of stewardship in our future actions. I am excited to share with you the activities that the Environmental Club is planning for next week:
- Bike/Walk/Ride Your Broom to school week: Let's rally around Jay and try to log in lots of miles especially at the start of next week. Remember to fill out slips in the front hall when you arrive and note the miles you traveled. GO TEAM FACULTY/STAFF. (There is a bike rack outside of Eric's office.)
- During the week: Keith Morency will be creating an environmental mural on the wall outside of the writing center. Liz will have tiles available for carving or decorating with an Earth Day message in the commons or on the patio that will be used on the path to our new garden. Deborah VanderMolen will have her class display their recycled art in the lower gallery.
- Friday: Free breakfast of bagels, granola, yogurt, and coffee (all donated) for anyone who got involved with the bike/walk to school on any day. Alice Grossman will be showing the documentary film, WASTELAND, during D block in A-3. A Harry Potter theme lunch will be served with a special concert at mid day. Our Earth Day Speaker, Wendy Williams, will speak during H block in room 125 on Mass Wind. She will also discuss her new book, Kraken, about the giant squid in room 117 during E Block.
- Other Events are in the making so check our posters in the front hall and commons.
Kudos to the many students in the Environmental Club and faculty who worked real hard to plan this week,
Michael J. Furnari
537 Highland St.
South Hamilton, MA 01982
Pingree Community All,
During vacation as I travelled up and down the east coast staying in hotels and stopping for meals in roadside restaurants I was transformed into a world of plastic cups and utensils, styrofoam plates and a host of use-once- then-throw-away items. (I will not comment on the food.) Mountains of plastic garbage bags along the streets of New York during the snow removal crisis brought it all home and made me appreciate the efforts we make at Pingree where, with a little forethought, you can have lunch without generating any waste. We've come a long way. With your support we are using fewer disposable cups and the Environmental Club recently puchased more reusable cups for the commons through our December sandwich fundraiser. Composting food scraps and paper napkins has become second nature to many members of our community and recycling of batteries, ink jet cartridges and cell phones has been successful. Please remember that the blue bins are for paper only. Bottles, cans and cups have their own separate receptacles. Keep up the great work!
In January, the Environmental Club will be focusing on networking. Alizabeth Dowling from the New England Carbon Challenge will be speaking at our meeting next Tuesday, January 11, explaining the grass roots work being done at UNH to get people in our area to reduce their carbon footprint. She will also be writing an article about sustainability efforts at Pingree for their electronic newsletter. We also hope to make contact with schools in Russia and Turkey through Skype and to check in with other high schools in our area. We are lining up some good speakers including Jan Schlichtmann, the lawyer portayed by John Travolta in the movie A Civil Action who took on some powerful chemical companies believed to be responsible for drinking water issues in Woburn.
Our final initiative for the year will be to prepare for Earth Day scheduled for Friday, April 22. If you have any ideas or would like to help in the planning, please come to one of our meetings that take place every Tuesday during the Break/Clubs period in the science wing.
Mr. F and The Green Team
Pingree Community All,
As we approach Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. Representative Lori Ehrlich from Marblehead took on the utility company that operated the Salem Power Plant for decades and dumped coal ash adjacent to Wenham Lake, the drinking supply for Beverly and Salem. Three feet of ash containing heavy metals and other pollutants had been washed into and deposited at the bottom of the lake, Thanks to Lori's determination and effort, a ten million dollar clean up took place and these hazardous materials were removed. In her recent address to the Environmental Club, Lori talked about several initiatives/laws she is working on to help protect our water and air. We are grateful for people like Representative Ehrlich.
Over the last few years, biology students at Pingree have been participating in the New England Carbon Challenge set up through the University of New Hampshire as part of our Sustainability Unit. This year, thirty-five Pingree families pledged to reduce their household emissions by 336,395 pounds of carbon dioxide saving them $40,732 in energy costs. Overall, 147 families over the past three years have saved 1,771,924 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere at a savings of $182,845. These are amazing statistics and Pingree will be highlighted in their upcoming e-newsletter, Home Matters. You are making a difference.
We are also happy to report that composting costs are way below our predictions. Thank you for your continued efforts to reduce waste. It is now entirely possible to choose options (reusable cups, silverware and plates along with composting) that produce ZERO WASTE at lunch. A sandwich fundraiser on Tuesday, Dec. 7th will allow us to buy more reusable cups for the commons. Stay tuned for details.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Environmental Club
We have done an amazing job with composting. I think it is fair to say that composting has become second nature to most people in the community. It is impressive to watch the sorting and effort that occurs each day at the bin. Thanks for remembering to compost your napkins as well.
Compost is picked up every Wednesday and delivered to Brick End Farm. This farm is located on the opposite side of the street from our exit driveway. The final product from the composting operation, "black gold", is available in reasonable amounts to Hamilton residents at Patton Park. I'm sure Pingree would be entitled to some "black gold" as well. In addition, Julia Frost, the owner of Chive Events, is interested in selling us the fresh produce from Brick End Farms for our lunches and other school events. This would be a great way to complete the circle. We will be meeting with Julia in the near future. She will also be selling local produce at the former Bell Market on Cabot St. in Beverly.
We have also reduced our use of throw-away plastic cups. We are using 200 fewer cups each week. Last Tuesday, very few disposable plastic cups were used. With a more concerted effort to return the reusable hard plastic cups to the dishroom, we could realize even more progress. Please choose a reusable plastic cup over a disposable one when given the option. Many thanks to those of you who use your own personal cups and bottles for beverages. The Hamilton health inspector has asked us to store these in our personal spaces when not in use. Please do not leave them out on tables in the Commons.
The Environmental Club will be exploring legislative initiatives in November. Lori Ehrlich, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives will be talking to us at our meeting on Tuesday, November 16th in room 125 during the Break/Clubs period. We are also organizing a "Sandwich Fundraiser" slated for a December afternoon after classes to give everyone a boost of energy before sports.
Thanks for your support and please contact us with ideas or concerns.
Americans make up 5% of the world’s population but use 25% of the planet’s resources and produce 30% of its waste. We are on the downward side of peak oil production. China is putting online one coal-fired power plant per week. People in developing countries want to have the same lifestyle that we as Americans take for granted. What will the world of our students look like in twenty years?
Colin Beavan, author of NO IMPACT MAN, decided to take action and purposely reduced his carbon footprint over the course of one year. His book was chosen as our community summer reading assignment and it served as a springboard to establish a set of goals for the Pingree community during the upcoming year. The Environmental Club will propose reasonable and attainable monthly challenges. Composting food scraps and paper napkins is our goal for the month of September. To see student responses to chapter questions from No Impact Man check out: https://www.pingree.org/USERLOGIN.CFM?PP=1098&USERREQUEST=FALSE&KEYREQUEST=TRUE&KEYPAGE=1098 (password, pegasus08).
An amazing group of Pingree students under the leadership of Priya Donti and Marykate Surette translated their concern for the future into action. Members of the sustainability committee identified concerns, researched critical areas, and assembled a meaningful collection of power points, activities, and labs that they are currently teaching to all of the biology classes. By providing students with information, they inspire their peers to analyze the way they live and appreciate the options and choices available to them at school and in their home.
This year, students were interested in watershed issues and green architecture. Planning began in June. Andrea Fox, a consultant, provided students with key information on the topic of water and a host of resources and websites to investigate. They also visited a recently constructed model green home (cleantechbuilt.net) and were amazed by its many features from the solar voltaic panels, insulation, and lighting to the small AMX screen where you could monitor home energy usage or select a web cam view of the Tobin Bridge in Boston in order to make decisions regarding the daily commute. These experiences resulted in the updating of the water and green architecture power points during the summer. Just prior to the start of school the team spent a day going through and teaching all the compiled material. Finally, they passionately taught sustainability to biology students who took what they learned and developed an action plan for their family.
Pingreen, our Environmental Club, has gotten off to one of their most successful starts in years with over fifty members. Teaming up with Ms. McCoy, they designed a green component to the freshman orientation. They explained recycling and composting with movie clips and games and distributed reusable shopping bags and water bottles. Mr. Esty has also thrown his hat into the ring and will be developing with students a five year environmental plan for the school.
Changing practices and behaviors is never easy. Students want to make a difference and are concerned about the future. As faculty and parents this may be a great opportunity to unite behind a set of common goals and work together. Buying locally grown produce, eating less meat, buying energy star appliances, taking shorter showers, car pooling, using cloth napkins, and lowering the thermostat are potentially good actions to reduce your impact. Get more ideas at www.pingreesustain.blogspot.com.