We’re Orange and Blue, but are we also Green?

Paige Hosbein Does Latin make enough of an effort to do what we can to save the environment? How are we minimizing the school’s energy expenditure? Mr. Cronister, Ms. Dennis and Lia Kim helped give us an inside scoop on all of these questions and more.  But first, why is going “green” so important?   On average, a person in the United States uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year. Paper in the U.S. represents one of the biggest components of solid waste in landfills – 26 million tons (or 16% of landfill solid waste) in 2009.  These astonishing statistics should motivate us to save our Earth, not just on Earth Day.  Reducing our negative impact on the environment goes beyond turning off the water while brushing our teeth — we need to be conscious on every decision we make that may be detrimental to our precious environment. Mr. Cronister shared some fascinating insights about Latin’s efforts to this goal. Throughout the school, lights have automatic timers, so that they are not on and wasting energy when students are not around. Latin makes great efforts to provide recycling for bottles and cans. If someone accidentally throws their can in the garbage, it is a single stream garbage, meaning that it goes on a conveyor belt system, so the cans and bottles  can be sorted to recycling if possible. The science center was created with sustainable materials. There are small wind-turbines and green gardens on both the middle and high school’s roof. The school also recently replaced the air and boiler system with a new and more efficient one. In an effort to save trees, classes have offered online textbooks and teachers also offer many online-sources for readings, taking notes and more. Efforts like these resulted in the middle school building being awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification by the United States Green Building Council in 2012. Latin’s environmental sustainability efforts in classrooms are  also present in the cafeteria. Ms. Dennis, the director of food service at Latin, revealed some outstanding facts. All of the to-go containers, utensils, cups, boxes, and napkins are all compostable. In fact, the spoons, forks, and knives are made of cornstarch and, in dire situations, you could even eat them!  Additionally, they compost in the kitchen (all fruit and vegetation), as well as in the Roman Kiosk (ground coffee is used in the gardening around campus). Lia noted that two hundred pounds of compost is collected daily in K-12. She also acknowledged that the leftover baked goods are crumbled for pie crusts. Another fun fact is that the coffee vendor delivers in a hybrid van, and all packages are shipped in recycled cardboard. Moreover, no beverages are purchased that have the plastic ring around it, saving sea-life from getting hurt. Hand Cut Foods also only purchases raw products from local vendors, and supports local farms, meaning nothing is processed. They have begun to sell the VOSS waters, hoping to encourage students to refill them once they are done. Although in the grand scheme of things, these changes may seem small, every piece of paper saved, every water bottle that is reused, every light switched off, makes a difference. As students, we should be encouraged by and appreciative of these efforts, in turn using  them as motivation to make changes in our lives in order to conserve and protect the environment. ]]>