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Leadership Training Teaches Kids About Solar Energy and a Sustainable Future
Posted by: april
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April 18, 2011By Noah Davis, Solar In The Schools Manager
Teaching kids anything at all can be rewarding. But teaching kids how they can be part of a responsible, sustainable new energy society is gratifying beyond belief.
Solar In the Schools recently had the chance to work with the Alliance for Climate Education to bring leadership training to a group of high-school student leaders from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
The Alliance for Climate Education is a nationwide non-profit that has developed a very successful model for awakening high-school students to the dangers of climate change - as well as achievable solutions. In less than two years this start-up nonprofit has reached more than 700,000 students with its high-energy, animated whole-school presentation. As a result, thousands of students have started up action teams and taken on all kinds of climate-fixing projects in their schools and communities.
Of course solving climate change is not simple or easy, nor is it for the faint of heart. But we at Solar Energy International know that the solutions hinge on energy. Climate change is humankind's biggest impact on our planet, and energy is humankind's biggest impact on climate change. The solutions that student action teams are suggesting - recycling programs, bike to school, building efficiency, etc. - make the difference by changing the way the world uses and sources its energy. How we use energy and where we source it will make all the difference.
On the training day, students gave up their Sunday in exchange for leadership training from the Alliance for Climate Education. They spent the day discussing goals and how to make things happen in their energy clubs and action teams.
Solar In the Schools was there to reinforce the connection between climate change and energy. Students worked hands-on with solar thermal technology, photovoltaic-powered electrical loads and series and parallel wiring. Which is another way to say that they blew up a giant garbage bag to make a solar hot-air balloon, inflated a fatsuit costume with solar electric panels, and powered other fans and toys by wiring together individual photovoltaic cells.
The students were also able to visit a cutting-edge strawbale home being built by sustainable building expert Laura Bartels of Greenweaver Inc. The 2nd St. LIFE Project is an applied research project for sustainable, affordable residential design in cold climates. The design creates a superinsulated, low impact high performance home on an infill lot in Carbondale. Not only did students get to tour the building under construction - they actually helped build it by stuffing straw into underinsulated areas that had been found with a thermal imaging camera.
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