From June 11–14, seventy-five high school students from Hawai‘i Island, Maui, and O‘ahu congregated at Hawai‘i PreparatoryAcademy (HPA) for the second annual Student Congress on Sustainability. This event, sponsored by HPA and The Kohala Center, introduced students to a range of initiatives to help green the planet, their communities, and their lifestyles.
Photo: A group picture of all participants outside the HPA Energy Lab, which is under construction and scheduled to be completed in January 2010. Students toured this state-of-the-art facility and learned how it has been designed to exceed the criteria for LEED Platinum certification.
Students lived on the HPA campus and attended workshops focusing on sustainable agriculture, electric cars, bio-fuels, home energy audits, protecting coral reefs, and hydrogen fuel cells, among other topics. Students also had the opportunity to visit sites around the island to learn about local food production and hydroponics, vanilla and chocolate production, and goat cheese operations. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “Tons of fun!” “I learned a lot and am inspired.” “This was a once in a lifetime experience.” “Awesome, it was really enjoyable, wish it was longer.”
Photo: Instructor Guy Toyama (left) and assistant Chester Lowry (right) set off a hydrogen powered pipette rocket that students made during the hydrogen power workshop.
Students departed HPA's second annual Student Congress on Sustainability with renewed energy and ideas for how to implement change back at their home schools and in their own lives. Here’s what three student attendees told us about the Student Congress and how this event impacted them.
The things I want to take back to my home and school are biodegradable utensils, growing your own garden, and make things run on hydrogen. Bringing biodegradable utensils to my school will help us be more sustainable. I learned how to cut and plant sweet potato, and I have already planted them at home! I will encourage my school to grow our garden. I also want to try make a hydrogen fueled car. —Micah Ramos, rising junior at Kea‘au High School
Photo: Students at the SEED exchange in Captain Cook where they collected seeds and participated in a sweet potato workshop. (From right to left) Micah Ramos, Megan Fujitake, Corrine Quinajon and Quitney Price.
After calculating my ecological finprint and having the opportunity to visit Kahalu‘u Bay, I was very interested in taking part in making a difference. I learned a lot of things I never knew before and because Kahalu‘u Bay is right down the street from where I live, I was anxious to start volunteering. Other ideas I’d like to take back to my school include: green tips in our morning broadcast, start a school garden, start a green team, and hopefully other ideas will come. —Quitney Price, rising junior at Kealakehe High School
Quitney and I are planning on starting a Green Team at our school. Since our school is so big (about 1,200 students), we think it will make a great difference. We're planning on not only educating the students on how to be more sustainable, but also on putting out more recycle bins for paper, cans, plastics, cardboard, etc. We have many other plans, including making a larger school garden and having school beach cleanups. The Sustainability Conference really affected my lifestyle so much. I now have a step-by-step plan on how to become more sustainable and how to affect the perspectives of others on this issue. —Roya Sabri, rising junior at Kealakehe High School
Click here to download a PDF of picture highlights from the Student Congress on Sustainability 2009.
Do you remember the 4 Sustainability Principles from The Natural Step?
Four principles of sustainability form the basis of The Natural Step framework and can be used to analyze our actions or initiatives (see image on left, courtesy of TNS).
Remember to try and use these principles in your everyday actions, so that you can achieve your goal of being sustainable. See The Natural Step Canada Web site for more information and resources.
Test your Knowledge with our Green Quiz!
1) Which country currently emits the most greenhouse gases?
B) United States
2) Approximately how much of global electricity output is produced from renewable sources?
3) About how much money do you save by replacing a single incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light?
A) $ 5
4) There is enough petroleum in 14 plastic bags to drive a car
A) 500 feet
B 1,000 feet
C) 2,000 feet
D) 1 mile (over 5,000 feet)
5) How long does it take for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to disperse?
A) 1 year
B) 10 years
C) 50 years
D) 100 years
6)Americans buy an estimated 28 billion plastic a water bottles every year. What percentage will end up in the landfill?
Answers: 1) A – United States was surpassed by China in 2006-07; However, we still tops in per capita emissions. 2) A. 3) D – CFL’s are 4 times more efficient and lasts up to 10 times longer. Replacing a 60-watt incandescent with a 13-watt CFL will save about $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. 4) D. 5) D. 6) C.
Read about the Student Congress on Sustainability excursion to NELHA on the Friends of NELHA August newsletter!