June 28, 2019
Causing a Commotion
Blog post by NYSW Youth Press Team Member y Meaghan DelleCave, a student at St Saviour High School
“If you love the ocean, cause a commotion!” So said one of the many groups of student presenters at the 2019 New York Sunworks Youth Press Conference. The Conference, themed “Discovering Sustainability Science,” featured students from schools partnered with New York Sunworks as part of the Greenhouse Project. Students presented their research, made possible through their schools’ Greenhouse Classrooms, and answered questions on their environmental concerns.
It’s no secret that global warming and environmental changes loom at large in our world, and while our fate and that of the environment rests in the hands of world leaders, our generation is doing their part (and their research) to use sustainable science to better our tomorrow. For example, students from P.S. 333 presented their research on acid erosion. Inspired to bring attention to the poor conditions of our world’s oceans, and to save the sea turtles (one of their favorite animals), the boys hope audiences take away from their research that global warming is a real problem, and if we all do our part and fight for change, it can be stopped. They also hope to help others to understand the magnitude of the situation and encourage outside-of-the-box thinking to find solutions. At other schools, such as City-As-School, students and faculty use their Greenhouse Classrooms to make and serve healthier meals, and they do all their own cooking and meal prep! (How cool is that?) They say they are excited to move forward and bring healthier, more sustainable food options to individuals from impoverished neighborhoods and “food desserts,” where healthy food choices are not always easy to find. The City-As students would love to see kids their age making a difference by recycling and thinking about the way they eat.
Students aren’t the only ones fighting against climate change; some pretty big names were in attendance at the Conference to share their views and ideas on sustainable science. Gil Quiniones, CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) spoke to the audience about global warming saying, “We all need to do our part to respond to climate change.” NYPA is surely doing it’s part; it the New York Power Authority currently supports about 20 green classrooms in New York. After speaking to the audience, Quiniones spoke with the Youth Press about climate change. He told us that climate change is the biggest challenge facing our environment, especially for the young generation (Gen Z). He went on to say that it’s important for today’s youth (that’s us, by the way) to care about climate change because we are the the leaders of the future and will be the ones making important decisions. He encourages kids and teens to use their energy and creativity to ask questions, to be “nudges,” and question the status quo. The NYPA CEO wants to see our generation make changes by learning and taking interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), by conducting experiments, and “learning by doing.”
Quiniones wasn’t the only famous face at the conference. The whole event was hosted by none other than Stephanie Hsu, star of the Broadway musical Be More Chill. The actress told the Youth Press that she was drawn to New York Sunworks because of her passion for sustainable science and agriculture and helping others understand the importance of climate change. Her biggest environmental concern that there is a lot of bad progress; rather than moving forward, we see a lot of backtracking or no action at all. Hsu told us, “we can- we need- to inspire people who are resistant.” Her advice for kids who want to make a positive difference and enforce change? “Take care of each other and listen. Trust in progress and know that hope is possible!”
As someone who intends to be on this planet for quite some more time, I’d like to see some positive environmental change. We can all do our part to make a small difference, but the real changes must be made by large companies and government officials. Our generation can be the generation to save the planet, we can put an end to the Global Warming Crisis, but we need to speak out, we need to do and share our research, we need to raise our voice, we need to cause a commotion! That is exactly what New York Sunworks encourages through it’s Greenhouse Project. Students at schools with green classrooms are lucky to have hands-on spaces where they can learn first hand about the wonder, joy, and progress of sustainable science.
Consider a commotion caused, but there is still a long way (and a lot of research) to go!
“Kids are not afraid to challenge the status quo, they offer fresh perspectives on the world we live in, and it is so important that they continue to care about the environment. With the green classrooms implemented by NY Sun Works, students are not just learning, but doing.”
Gil C. Quiniones, the President and CEO of the New York Power Authority.