On November 11 through 15th, Concord Academy celebrated its biannual Earth Week. Planned by the Environmental Co-heads, an elected group of students chosen to lead the school’s environmental initiatives, the purpose of this week was to raise awareness and offer solutions to help preserve the planet.
When asked about her outlook on the importance of Earth Week, Coco Huang ’21, one of the Environmental Co-heads, stated that she believes that the main goal in Earth Week activities is “to raise awareness among students about the importance of protecting our environment considering how bad our current situation is. We want to increase the students’ willingness to be more environmentally friendly, educate them on how they can create an impact in their daily life, and cultivate in our community a sense of responsibility, that is to say, concern for the future generation. In this sense, the quote ‘The earth isn’t given to us by our parents, it is lent to us from our children’ resonates with me.”
Agriculture Day was on the first day of Earth Week this year. Agriculture is responsible for one-tenth of total greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading water pollutant. Furthermore, high demand products such as beef require insane amounts of resources. One pound of beef requires twenty-five hundred gallons of water, which is also equivalent to the average amount of water used to shower for one person in a year. Beyond Burgers were served at lunch as an example of a more sustainable food source. Not only do they require less water, but they also need less land, energy, and emit less total greenhouse gases.
The second day was Food Waste Day, which focused primarily on correct composting. In America alone, forty percent of food supply becomes waste, which is equivalent to one hundred and thirty-three billion pounds of food annually. Therefore, correct composting is crucial as food waste left in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. During all lunches, the Environmental Co-heads stood at the composting bins in the Stu-Fac to help students sort identify foods that are compostable or not.
Following Food Waste Day was Water Day and Energy Day, both crucial resources for human survival yet often overlooked. Less than three percent of all water on Earth is considered freshwater. Of that tiny sliver, the freshwater needs to be distributed to various needs, such as drinking, irrigation, sanitation, and factory use. Energy and water are resources come at an expense from the planet, and although they seem to be readily available at Concord Academy, not everyone globally experiences the same privileges.
The final day was Solution Day, where students were educated on possible solutions to solve the crisis presented to them by the themes of the previous days. The Environmental Co-heads stressed the idea that if everyone incorporated small, simple changes in their lives, a difference can be made. Things such as consuming less beef, producing less food waste, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, and turning off the lights when you leave the room can all make a difference.