The weekly poker game was a great opportunity to unwind and compare notes about the school year. And like all good school rivalries, there was no shortage of boasting to go with it.
“You should see what a couple of my students created all on their own initiative,” I. G. began while passing around the drinks. His students had submitted an entry in the “Penny-Smart & Earth-Wise Story” contest sponsored by Iowa County Clean, Local Energy Alliance – Now! (CLEA-N) and the Dodgeville Chronicle. Minnie nodded. “Yea, one of my students showed how we could easily set up a composting system. Another crunched some numbers to demonstrate how a solar installation on the school could pay for itself in a relatively short period of time. Then it would save 100s of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the installation. I wonder what it would feel like to be covered in solar panels?” she grinned.
Barney and Don winked at each other across the table. Both of them had science teachers who used this contest as an assignment, so they each had dozens of students competing. Their projects represented an amazing array of energy cost-savings ideas. For example, some showed the benefits of adding insulation or of using LED light bulbs. Other students advocated for pilot projects like energy-producing floor tiles in high traffic areas, and rain barrels or green roofs on campus outbuildings.
Not wanting to be too boastful, Don quietly added, “Yup, Barney and I had students submit entries to the contest too. I understand the winners will get their pictures in the Chronicle.”
“You know,” Minnie considered, “we all use energy 24 / 7 - 365 days a year. If we play our cards right, a little nudging from our students (and the community) will convince our school boards to consider these projects and take action to cut energy use. It’s the Penny-Smart & Earth-Wise thing to do because this is our only home. It’s where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”