Latin Goes for the Green (Cup Challenge)

Henry Pollock If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a little chillier than usual (despite the weird weather) in your classrooms, I have three words for you: Green Cup Challenge. This year, for the fourth year in a row, the students, faculty, and administration at Latin are participating in the Green Cup Energy Challenge and are attempting to reduce electricity usage. This year, more than one hundred schools from twenty-two states are competing for the coveted Green Cup. During the four years Latin has competed in the Green Cup, it has consistently been one of the strongest competitors. From 2010-2012, the school had the greatest level of reduction in the Great Lakes Region and was of the competition’s top “reducing schools” every year. Latin’s energy reduction in 2013, however, has been dramatically different from previous years. How different, one might ask? Surely it was just a small drop off from last year’s 7.4 percent reduction? No, during the Green Cup this year, Latin has had an increase in energy consumption by a whopping 20.3 percent. A relapse like this is unprecedented in Latin’s era of environmental sustainability. Until now, it had seemed that Latin’s progression to sustainability was etched in stone. The truth has come out, however, that environmental friendliness is not served on a silver platter but is instead the result of commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle. To make matters even worse, 2013 is a year that should demand even less energy than years prior. Unlike, for instance, the winter of 2011, during which Chicago was plagued with freezing temperatures, dreary skies, and high snowfalls, the winter of 2013 has been relatively bright and temperate. It was only last Friday (January 26), that a mere inch of snow fell on Chicago for the first time this season. In mild weather like this, there is no need for the school to be wasting energy on heating, let alone air conditioning. Nor, for that matter, do the lights need to be turned on to full power even when there is plenty of natural light. Nevertheless, there is a way to rediscover Latin’s old environmentalist sentiments. As Mr. Cronister suggests, the Latin community can reduce electricity usage by “turning off lights when leaving rooms, turning off computers and electronics, unplugging chargers when not in use, [and] minimizing printer and copier use.” By no means are these supremely difficult actions; they only require us to be a bit more prudent—for example, instead of complaining about a “cold” room 525 and turning up the heat, one should put on a warm, fuzzy sweater instead. Whether it is a true passion for environmentalism, a competitive desire to win the Green Cup, or a surrender to the Green Police’s pressure, everyone at Latin has a reason to reduce electricity usage.]]>