Each year, the Upper School Sustainability Committee at Friends Academy works to bring awareness to environmental issues that our world and community face. They share various ways to make small changes in their everyday lives. As one of the Quaker “spices,” the group believes in Stewardship and that “it is important for everyone to recognize and help keep the environment clean for the next generation of students.”
During Earth Week, April 26-29, the committee’s Faculty Advisor, Upper School Science teacher Jeff Burt, shared daily tips centered around immersive activities with the Friends Academy community dedicated to the small, but impactful changes we can all make to create a cleaner world.
Tuesday, April 26
Mr. Burt and the Sustainability Committee gathered to plant seeds on the Friends Academy campus. The group encourages all students to plant seeds to increase the number of organisms that perform photosynthesis by taking in CO2. “CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has the ability to trap heat in the atmosphere, which leads to increasing temperatures in the atmosphere and our oceans. This process ultimately leads to climate change,” noted Mr. Burt. “CO2 also lowers the pH of our oceans causing ocean acidification, which has negative effects on organisms on the bottom of the food chain that contain a hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate, such as zooplankton, crustaceans, and shellfish. The acid eats away at their shell, weakening them. This causes the animals to spend more time rebuilding their shell instead of growing and reproducing. Ocean acidification is considered to be the ‘other carbon problem’ and has major implications on the ecosystem as well as our economy.”
Wednesday, April 27
Students participated in their last Community Group activity of the school year. During this time, they played Earth Day Bingo and spoke about what the school can do to lessen our carbon footprint; one student suggested a recycling program.
Thursday, April 28
The school participated in National Lights Out Day. Each classroom and office on the campus kept their lights off and used natural sunlight throughout the day to encourage our community to remember to turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use. In addition to this initiative, the Sustainability Committee held a “Lunch & Learn” that focused on a discussion about what can happen when business leads the way. If they provide the model, consumers can follow suit.
Friday, April 29
To finish out the week, Mr. Burt shared words of wisdom with the community. “The theme for Earth Day 2022 is Invest In Our Planet,” he stated. “We need to take action every day. Whether it is on a smaller scale at home such as turning off your lights, taking shorter and cooler showers, planting a garden, or buying from local businesses,” he shared. “You can also take action by gathering in groups at a beach clean-up, attending an environmental rally, or writing a letter to your local representative. You can do something every day and let your life speak!”