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How Can I Successfully Improve my School’s Carbon Footprint through Carpooling?

What You Need to Know

I go to a school in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia in the United States called Episcopal Academy. I love my school, but it is not very sustainable. Neither are the students, and my hope with this project is to change the mindset of my fellow peers and the administration. So I asked myself the question, how can I change my peers’ outlook on climate change through small actions that they can follow?

Episcopal Academy’s Campus

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the economic sector, and is overall one of the largest sources for greenhouse gasses. The  largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are passenger cars and light duty trucks, such as minivans and pickup trucks. In 2012 the Obama administration set greenhouse gas standards that enforces cars to have a gas mileage of at least 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. However, most cars and trucks that are being sold today do not meet this standard, including many different zero emission vehicles, and technology for these vehicles is rapidly advancing while costs are declining. What this all means is that the economy is profiting off of cars that are objectively worse for the environment than the planet can handle, and it shows no signs of stopping. So what can we do to stop this? 

Although GHG emissions from transportation is not increasing at an alarming rate, it is still increasing and needs to begin to decrease. What can we do to decrease the GHG emissions?

My Project

My Proposal

I have created an entire initiative proposal that I will present to my principal when I return to school next. If he agrees to my plan I will then set it in action and hopefully it will be success and will continue on the rest of my high school career. Here is a link to the presentation I have created which summarizes the program proposal.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1q6sLkU8QjmjPoW1cYsYHdZQF2eoiELvOlj7oJFlrpzY/edit?usp=sharing

Linked below is the google doc where I have laid out my entire guideline, if you are interested in reading it in its entirety. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Su9NvE2lgMtfl1oQEBwmazGmd_HcY1spen1fc1Mv-a0/edit

What Comes Next?

If he agrees to my plan I will then set it in action and hopefully it will be success and will continue on the rest of my high school career. I have a lot more to accomplish after with this project after the Catalyst Conference, but the more important question is what can WE do next in order to further improve our environmental impact. I have many more ideas that if my proposal goes through, I will confidently share next with my school. However, what can you do as well to help your school community with this information?

I hope that you have at least become aware of the importance of greenhouse gas emissions through transportation, and how we can help make a difference. I hope that you will take this information in strides and improve your own impact and that of your community’s. If you want to contact me for any help or suggestions implementing a similar project I would love to help! Feel free to base your project off of my presentation if it helps start improvement in your community that is all that matters!

Sources

Carpool Incentive Programs: Implementing Commuter Benefits Under the Commuter 
     Choice Leadership Initiative. United States Environmental Protection
     Agency, www.cleanairpartnerstx.org/resources/
     Carpool%20Incentive%20Programs%20-%20EPA.pdf. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Government Publishing Office. United States
     Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/
     sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#transportation. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

Wang, Shiying, and Mengpin Ge. "Everything You Need to Know About the
     Fastest-Growing Source of Global Emissions: Transport." World Resources
     Institute, 16 Oct. 2019, wri.org/blog/2019/10/
     everything-you-need-know-about-fastest-growing-source-global-emissions-transport.
     Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

Edenhofer, Ottmar, et al., editors. Climate Change 2014 Mitigation of Climate
     Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014, www.ipcc.ch/
     site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_full.pdf. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.


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COMMENTS: 5
  1. April 23, 2020 by Lee Burnett

    This is a really interesting idea, and most importantly it is one we really need! I hope your presentation goes well with the powers that be—this could be a model for other schools too.

  2. April 23, 2020 by Ale Cantu

    I am very proud of you for creating this! 🙂

  3. April 24, 2020 by KELLY LEIGHT-BERTUCCI

    So excited to see this! If GYLI can help in any way let us know!

  4. April 25, 2020 by Tina Bessias

    I think a lot of us attend or teach in suburban schools where carpooling would be the only solution because there’s no public transit nearby. I’d love to see your plan, but the Google docs aren’t accessible. Maybe they’re set to be available only to people in your school’s domain?

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