Schools, Climate Change & Solutions: Sustainability Group at Ancillae-Assumpta

PAISBOA Sustainability Group Meeting 054-1.JPG

Thirty-three participants from 17 schools attended PAISBOA’s Sustainability Group meeting at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy on January 15, 2019; the topic: Schools, Climate Change & Solutions. Climate Reality Leadership Corps member and Haverford College’s Vice President & Chief of Staff Jesse Lytle gave a solutions-oriented presentation on climate change.

Ancillae-Assumpta Academy’s Director, Amy Lintner, and Assistant Principal, Eileen Wolpert, shared a brief history of the school’s environmental stewardship commitment, symbolized by photos of the “blue planet” hanging in every classroom. Science teacher, Kathy Grim, showed examples of environmental sustainability across the curricula -- from music class (iPads instead of paper), science room (vertical towers to grow plants), STEM lab (7th graders design “green school” models), to art class (projects made from recycled materials).

Chef Sarah Wade explained that the school’s compost and recycling efforts led to a reduction in waste from four bags to one bag per day. The school diverted 7 ½ tons of organic matter from the landfill in one year through its composting program. PAISBOA Sustainability Group members feasted on Sarah’s delicious low waste, locally sourced, plant based dinner in the library.  

Jesse Lytle speaks to PAISBOA Sustainability Group members at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy about climate change.

Jesse Lytle speaks to PAISBOA Sustainability Group members at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy about climate change.

Haverford College’s Vice President & Chief of Staff Jesse Lytle’s presentation on climate change covered plenty of facts and solutions. Some takeaways include:

  • Climate change affects extreme weather patterns (17 of the 18 hottest years on record occurred since 2001), food supply (decreased yields of crops), health (heat related deaths), environmental degradation (50% of land-based species risk becoming extinct by the end of this century), carbon costs (#1 threat to global economy).

  • Globally, we dump 110 million tons of greenhouse pollution in the the atmosphere every 24 hours. That is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs dropped per day for 365 days per year.

The good news is there are solutions:

  • Costs to generate green energy (wind and solar) decreased as energy capacity increased

  • In PA, there are twice as many jobs in clean energy as there are in fossil fuels

  • 62% of Pennsylvanians believe climate change is causing problems

  • Governor Wolf established the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution in PA.

The evening ended with a raffle prize of Paul Hawken’s book Drawdown--100 solutions to reduce global warming. Anne-Marie McMahon of Delaware Valley Friends School noted, “This event was just excellent overall, inspiring, and well done.”

Article by Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.