On Thursday, March 14, Tandem 8th graders and Upper Schoolers participated in a student-led teach-in day that focused on climate change and ways we can help. Each year, the Friends Council students, led by the seniors on the committee, plan and execute a full day of learning on a Quaker values-based topic. The day began with the entire group watching the documentary Before the Flood, followed by grade-based discussion groups about the film that were led by students. After lunch, students broke into smaller groups to participate in workshops - the first workshops offered were presented by guests:
Running a Sustainable Business - Teri Kent, Director of Communications and Programs for the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative, and founder of local green resource Better World Betty, along with Melissa Meece, who has a degree in environmental studies and is the owner of Firefly restaurant and Rethreads (2nd hand clothing store), talked about what local nonprofits and businesses are doing to reduce their carbon footprint while being part of a team effort: the Better Business Challenge!
Stopping Pipelines in Virgina/Climate Activism - Lara Mack, Virginia Field Coordinator for the environmental non-profit Appalachian Voices, gave an overview of their work, and the successes and struggles of resisting the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines the last 4.5 years.
How to Talk about Climate Change to People Who Are Not Convinced It’s Happening - Climate change can be a difficult subject, yet conversations about climate can go a long way towards convincing people that climate action is imperative. In this workshop, they discussed reasons why people don’t think climate change is happening or don’t think it is urgent and went over some strategies for effective climate conversation. Led by Lena Lewis, Program Manager for Charlottesville Climate Collaborative's Better Business and Home Energy Challenges.
Positive Way to Respond to Climate Change - Coastal communities are on the front line of climate change. More than half the world’s population - including most of the world’s largest cities - live along the coast and are affected by rising seas and more intense storms. Karen McGlathery, Professor of Environmental Sciences at UVA., discussed how we help coastal communities adapt and make them more resilient.
Emerging Innovations for Climate Solutions - Sandy Reisky, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer and Steve Vavrik, Chief Commercial Officer of Apex Clean Energy talked about their work building and operating utility-scale wind and solar energy, followed by an overview of emerging innovations for climate solutions. They discussed personal steps we can all take by voting with our wallets and ballots to speed the transition to a clean energy future.
Friends Council students led the second round of workshops, where students could paticipate in poster making, planting seeds, writing letters to politicians, talking about environmental racism, enjoying art/open studio time, or taking a nature walk. The day ended with a beautiful outdoor meeting for worship on the front lawn.
Not to be outdone by their Upper School peers, 5th graders have been studying about the effects of single-use plastics and created some great posters, and 8th graders have been performing energy audits all over campus and will be making recommendations to the school about ways to become more energy efficient.