The next steps in our society's journey to a sustainable future
Energy conservation is an extremely difficult issue to tackle for our society, for many reasons. We are dependent on technology and lots of it, the very existence of which requires power. We are a society built upon an economy of oil, so much so that everything from our infrastructure to our daily habits revolve around the consumption of fossil fuels. Without a massive shift from the very core of our society, it is conceivable that we will continue to sow our own seeds of destruction indefinitely.
So where does this shift come from? A quick glance at a map shows that schools by nature, are generally located in the center of their communities to provide the best educational services to the most amount of people. By capitalizing on this and developing schools as sustainable energy hubs, the community forms a collective district energy system. Geothermal piping in the vast open fields of schools, could function both as an energy generation and storage system, generating heat for the community during the summer, and storing that heat deep underground in the winter.
Photovoltaic systems on the expansive roofs of schools can not only serve to produce energy to power the school, but also feed power back into the grid and provide energy to the surrounding communities. Schools may further develop this initiative by partnering with a photovoltaics production company, to purchase panels collectively with the community and take advantage of buying in bulk. This would not only provide the consumers with significant financial benefits, but also translate to increased sales and profits for the producer as well.
All of this, starts with empowering youth to take action in their schools. We must now look to give our youth the tools they need to commit to tangible actions, rather than persuade them further with words, facts and information. For example, the Student Sustainability Committee at Prince of Wales Mini school is a student initiative that is built around action at its core. Together with our membership of over 50 students, we strive to create a measurable difference through initiatives such as Alternative Energy Systems, and Sustainable Community Development, partnering with numerous community partners, businesses and institutions to do so.
At the same time, we provide our members with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to run projects of this caliber, and provide them with the confidence to independently pursue their goals of a sustainable education system. We are implementing the ideas explored above together with multiple school districts across BC, to create a sustainable legacy for our future students.
We have already accomplished our goal of inspiring our children to address these issues, it is now time for us to give them the tools necessary to act upon them. They are eager, they are willing, and they are motivated to change the world. We must foster this enthusiasm and support it to the best of our abilities, to make our dreams of a brighter future a tangible reality.