Husband, Thomas [faculty advisor, Department of Natural Resource Science]
energy savings; education; Rhode Island schools
As Rhode Island’s landscape steadily changes and the human population and development expands, we as responsible inhabitants need to be more mindful of our actions and how our decisions impact our environment. This is an especially important value to pass on to our children, who will be around to see how the state and Narragansett Bay are affected by our actions long after we are gone. My project visits approximately 1,300 elementary school students in South Kingstown and spends some time interacting with them and teaching them about energy use in Rhode Island, in their daily lives, and how to live efficiently by conserving energy.
Being a History and Spanish student-major here at the University, concern for energy usage and conservation is not typical of my field, but is a personal pursuit that I am very passionate about. My experience studying civilizations that outgrew their means has helped me realize that our current crises with global warming, pollution, and destruction of nature will only escalate if not kept in check by an educated population. My wish is to teach Rhode Island students to recognize their responsibility to scale back their energy consumption to multiply the effort by having them impart their newfound knowledge to their communities.
In the past, I have worked closely with children and have had opportunities to speak to them about renewable energy in various forms in Rhode Island through my work at the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation. This project, however, was my first opportunity to address specific topics that I feel are important for Rhode Island’s youth to understand and participate in. Working with Dave Carey, the South Kingston school system’s Energy Manager, and with my project Advisor, Natural Resources Science professor Tom Husband, I put together a presentation to give at the elementary school level on broad topics, such as how energy is produced and delivered, as well as talking specifically to the students about how they consume energy. The goal of my project was to educate the students on their energy consumption in their homes and classrooms and how they can reduce their impact in easy and healthy ways that will benefit themselves, others, and their surroundings.