Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Environmental updates!

School has begun again! With the homework and tests come exciting environmental initiatives. There are so many ideas and so much energy among the green community - the perfect combination to act! 

Our school installed 3356 solar panels over the summer, with the help of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) and a local solar energy company Sunseap! They account for 30% of the school's energy consumption and can produce 1 MW of power on the sunniest, clearest days. The Middle School Global Issues Network (GIN) club will be working with the High School SAVE and GIN club to present the school's new source of renewable energy to the whole community. It's a great example of direct steps taken by the school to become a greener campus! 

I'm taking a class called Senior Capstone this year. It's an opportunity to independently research and study a subject of my choice. I chose the environment (no surprise!); I'm using Singapore American School (SAS - my school) as a case study, as well as some Canadian schools, and creating a green guidebook for already established schools. My focus is not on the physical campus but the additional efforts a school can take to become a more environmentally friendly community. I'm splitting up initiatives in terms of student driven, technology, and waste management. It's a work in progress but I love being able to connect it to the current AP Environmental Science (APES) class I'm taking. I'm learning of plenty of real life examples to apply my growing understanding of the environment. 

In the past few weeks, I've gone to a couple of talks on biodiversity and plastic. The Singapore Land Transport Authority is planning to build an MRT through the primary forests of Macritchie reservoir. Last Thursday, as a part of a biodiversity talk, botanist Joseph Lai went through 200 slides of pictures (taken by him) of the unique species that live in Singapore's primary forests. He knew all of them by heart and it was incredible to see the variety of life that exists on this once tropical forested island. Visit to join the protest against the cutting down of this rich primary forest! 

Two weeks ago, I also went to a Plastic Symposium held by the National University of Singapore's SAVE (Students Against the Violation of the Environment) group. They invited several guest speakers - an environmental entrepreneur engaged on the business side of things, a government representative from the National Environment Agency, and an NUS professor who spoke about the impact of plastic on marine life. It was so interesting to see so many different schools there to understand the state of plastic waste in Singapore, despite the fact that it was a Saturday afternoon. I found it especially interesting that plastic, whether recycled or not, is always incinerated in Singapore. 

The year's off to a great start and I'm proud to say I'm a part of it! 

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