Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day of Darkness

I would like to thank the students and staff at Palo Alto High School for their overall amenable demeanor today. I don't remember ever having to spend a day in school with no electricity, but unfortunately due to a nearby catastrophic plane crash, our city was without power all day. As a coworker and I prepared to leave toward the late afternoon, we commented to each other about the quiet, peaceful nature of the campus today. But walking down the dark hallway, I remembered the reason why we experienced this day of darkness and all of the families whose lives have been torn apart since 8:00 a.m. this morning.

I found it both poignant and ironic that our Environmental Initiative club had just promoted their event, "Eco Awareness Week"
January 27-29. I helped spread the word for Thursday, January 28th, Day of Darkness - "a day in which teachers [were] encouraged to take a stance against energy consumption by turning off the lights in their classroom." So, today, as a sad reminder that we can leave a smaller carbon footprint even while in school, we were forced to have another day of darkness--as was the entire town of Palo Alto due to the fallen power lines at the crash site.

We commemorated the environmentally friendly car maker Tesla last year during our Career Month, and this year during Eco Awareness Week. Now, perhaps we can switch the Day of Darkness to February 17, in honor of the tragic deaths of three Tesla engineers. Today was not a planned day to go without electricity, but we are reminded it can be done. Read Michael Abrams' account of the Environmental Initiative event, and see what you can do to make a difference for the environment.
Our event went very well. When you have such events, the pressure really gets ramped up and that is when you can tell who is a leader. I was pleased to see people who hadn't previously been as active in the club really become a part of the team and help out. One thing we will do next year is have a different planning strategy...Also, we all agreed that we need a better advertising strategy for next year's earth week and all future events - it seemed like a lot of people would have participated if they had known more about what to bring for the tie dye day and to bring their bike to school on the bike race day. One event that I was very proud of, though, was bringing the Tesla to school. Everyone, including teachers and students I didn't even know, were so interested in it.

Cool Community Service Inspiration: The Environment
  • Create a celebration! Check out University of California, Berkeley's Earthweek Event for ideas:
  • Join an environmental group or club, such as the national nonprofit Alliance for Community Trees:, or contribute time or resources to local tree planting organizations such as in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Incorporate the Environment into learning, check out One Planet Fundraising:

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