6 simple ways to conserve natural resources at school

Gabriella Monico

Aug. 20 of this year was Earth Overshoot Day, the day we have surpassed the amount of resources that could be sustainably used in a year. Each year we are are using up our year’s worth of supplies faster; in 2003 Overshoot Day day fell on Sept 22 and in 1993 Oct 21 .The earth cannot keep up with the demands made upon it and Earth’s resources are dwindling to precarious levels. Only one third of earth’s resources are left.

With WOW, Walk One Week, coming up, some MVHS students who live beyond walking distance may be disappointed that they cannot contribute to aiding the environment by walking to school. However, there are other ways to conserve resources. Listed below are the top 6 things that MVHS students and staff can do on a regular basis to help ameliorate the situation.

1. Keep only one section of the lights on whenever possible.
One light bulb uses 60 kilowatts of energy an hour. The average personal computer uses only 10 kilowatts more in the same amount of time. If we turn every light bulb on in every classroom, it is comparable to running hundreds of computers concurrently.

2. Close the doors when the air conditioner is on.
Air conditioning accounts for 12% of annual energy consumption in America. By closing the doors when the air conditioner is on, a substantial amount of energy is saved because the cool air stays in the room and less energy is needed to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

3. Decrease the amount of paper you print.
Schoolloop has a feature that allows homework to be turned in electronically; however, very few teachers take advantage of this paper-saving alternative. The amount of paper saved if just half of the assignments assigned daily were turned in electronically could potentially save hundreds of trees if used consistently. Ask your teachers if you can turn in assignments electronically.

4. Use only one paper towel to dry hands.
According to AP Environmental Science teacher Andrew Goldankranz, other schools in the bay area have started implementing stickers on their paper-towel dispensers that say “Remember this came from trees.” These simple stickers have dramatically decreased paper towel usage at the schools that use them by reminding the students that there are consequences for excessively using paper.

5. Throw trash in the trash can.
After lunch the rally court and academic quad is littered with paper bags and snack packets. Not only would it help the janitorial staff if the trash were placed in the trash cans, but there would also be fewer annoying birds dirtying our campus if tasty morsels were not left out for them daily.

6. Switch to non-plastic water bottles.
In America, it takes 17 million barrels of oil to make a year’s supply of the water bottles — that’s enough to power 1 million cars. Switching to non-discardable water bottles is a cheaper and more eco-friendly choice.

These 6 conservation methods are easy to implement on a daily basis. On a larger, administrative scale, it would be helpful to do an energy audit of MVHS. This would reveal where resources are being wastefully used and would allow us to know where we need to focus on conservation.