On Sept. 23, the world watched as 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, from Sweden, addressed world leaders at the United Nations. Thunberg gave an emotion-filled speech about holding world leaders accountable for climate change and, ultimately, her future.
Thunberg’s message of panic and anger about the current climate crisis inspired millions of young people all over the world to take a stand.
“Greta Thunberg’s bravery at the UN has been a topic of discussion amongst all my friends,” mentioned Dante Strollo. “She’s an example of how young people like myself really can change the world.”
Strollo, a senior at Cheshire Academy and co-president of Cheshire Academy’s Sustainability Club “Eco Leaders,” understands Thunberg’s frustration, and, along with his school community, plans to carry her message of conservation and sustainability into the 2020 year. Cheshire Academy has hired USA LED to take on the task of turning each and every fluorescent light on the school’s campus into an LED one.
“The environment is something my friends and I care about deeply,” mentioned Strollo. “This new lighting initiative is a small step to a much larger goal.”
Upon completion of the installation, the new LED lighting will save Cheshire Academy an estimated 386,162 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year, equating to nearly $82,000 in annual savings. This relamping project will be completed at 360 fixture locations and result in over 2,000 bulbs being replaced.
The new LED lights will provide much brighter, longer-lasting lighting for the entirety of Cheshire Academy’s campus, which will also ease the number of work order requests for broken bulbs, according to Jennifer Dillon, Cheshire Academy’s sustainability coordinator. While the newer, brighter bulbs may be concerning to some, Dillon assures that there is no eye-health risk associated with these new bulbs.
Dillon is also committed to putting the campus and students on the path to a more ecologically-friendly future.
“Most big businesses start initiatives with input from their shareholders,” said Dillon. “But here, our shareholders are our students and we have to invest in their future.”
The new LED lights are currently being installed on campus with the hope that the project will be completed by the start of the 2020 year. And it isn’t the only thing Cheshire Academy plans on doing to promote sustainability and awareness.
“We are constantly thinking of new things to do to promote awareness on campus,” said Strollo. “Eco Leaders has plans to do multiple trash-themed fashion shows, called a ‘Trashion Show,’ and a cardboard box drive.”
Eco Leaders, which has about 15 student members and is run entirely by Cheshire Academy students, has put on events ranging from an East Haven beach cleanup to hosting various food drives, all in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and create a more sustainable community on campus.
“For us, it’s all about moving our campus into the 21st century.” claimed Dillon. “Many of our students are scared about the future, and our initiatives are about moving students’ mindset from panic to empowerment.”
While Eco Leaders is full of students devoted to the cause, Strollo has seen non-members get excited about conservation and sustainability.
“Even my friends who aren’t in Eco Leaders will donate their time and money to various Eco Leader events,” said Strollo. “Everyone my age knows this is a real issue, and they’re all aware of its effects on our future.”