We are living in a very interesting time. Perhaps the only time in history when we have come to understand that we humans not only have the capability but currently are actively, collectively (though not equally) and earnestly diminishing, if not destroying, the global environment for future generations. It is not “just” through the emissions of greenhouse gases, though that one fault may be the worst, but also through the use of a myriad of unsustainable personal, production and business practices we continue with little concern for the future. Yes, we have enough scientific capability to determine what is sustainable and what is not. The question is, “Do we have the collective understanding and will to make the changes necessary?”
In the last five years more has been made of these issues in the general news to those who need to make the changes. Indeed many individuals are using less energy, they have made changes in their homes, transportation and food. And, some are pushing for greater changes at the national and world level. But collectively, we have not changed enough. While some say it is impossible for an individual to have any effect, certainly nothing good will happen if we don’t make an effort!
I believe most will make an effort, if they are sufficiently informed and motivated. Indeed, the purpose of our online community is to make it easy and convenient for people to learn, get motivated and take action. But, we are not reaching enough people! And, we are not reaching the most important people – the young, those who will live in the world we leave behind, the world we can now only model and try to imagine.
I think it is entirely appropriate for young people, specifically high school Juniors and Seniors, to understand the mess we have gotten into. Appropriate for them to start asking questions and discussing the issues. Appropriate for them to begin formulating how they will live in their future world, what is important to them (they don’t yet understand they can’t have everything, but they will learn), and what changes need to be made. I also believe it is appropriate for them to start influencing their peers, their parents and the businesses who sell and will sell to them. They may not realize it, but they do have influence, and now is a good time to start developing the understanding necessary to use that influence appropriately!
But to be effective, they need to develop a better understanding of the issues, to learn how to educate and motivate their peers, and how to effectively share and communicate.
I invite and encourage high school Juniors and Seniors passionate about energy and sustainability to get involved, to learn more about your environment, to develop your thoughts and ideas, to educate and motivate others to change, and to live well and sustainably using less fossil fuel. I invite and encourage you to develop your interviewing, analysis, photography and writing skills, to think about where these topics fit in your future education, to begin to think about what you will do to earn a living, to learn more about yourselves, and ultimately to decide what is important to you and what is not.
This is not a school or teacher driven program, but you do need a teacher or parent sponsor to bounce ideas off and to ask for direction when needed. You may need someone to read your drafts and help you edit them. And I need a teacher or parent as a contact for you. There are a limited number of openings for this position (2 per school district), unless someone wants to organize the effort as a school club, where there is more of a team effort in developing ideas, doing research and interviews, taking pictures and developing graphics, and writing and editing the final blogs. There are no deadlines – writing a blog is not an excuse to lose sleep or not do your homework! There is a limit of two blogs per month per school district, and I am looking for a commitment of at least one blog every other month per school district.
If you are interested in becoming a Student Energy & Sustainability Reporter or being a sponsor for one, contact me at DanG@OEIC.us.
Download Student Reporter Flyer and Writing Ideas & Guidance below in RESOURCES.
Below, during Carl DeCesare and Brian O'Connor’s TV Studio Production & Broadcasting class, at Niskayuna High School this week, Ryan Percy interviewed me about the website and the student reporters program.