Students at Lindblom Math and Science Academy are creating actionable, personal plans to decrease their carbon footprints. They say the plans are key to securing an "environmentally friendly" future as experts at the UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow, Scotland take on the bigger picture.
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The AP environmental science course at Lindblom isn't just a class for these students, it's a blueprint for saving their communities.
"They have inherited a planet that is environmentally damaged," said Susan Dirr, the AP environmental science teacher.
And these teens aren't just studying for a test, they're applying their lessons to "real-life" in hopes of a cleaner, brighter future.
"I feel by taking this class, we're each learning about our individual responsibilities to help the environment," said Lindblom student Maya Blackmon.
Right now, these students are learning how to be more environmentally conscious as our communities face the devastating effects of climate change.
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NASA said greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, are causing the Earth's temperature to increase. This is leading to dramatic climate changes, like droughts and hotter summers.
"I just feel like we need more people to be involved and engaged and you can't do that without educating people," added fellow student, Divine Coleman.
That's where teachers like Dirr come in and show children how everyday activities, such as driving to work or using cleaning products, can affect the environment.
"As we move through this course, we're gonna expand from the personal community out to the city, and see where changes need to take place at each of these levels," Dirr said.
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Dirr has asked students to evaluate the changes they can make in their homes to decrease their family's carbon footprints. Some are asking their parents to recycle more or to replace their appliances with energy-efficient ones, showing us that teenagers can help save the planet one personal choice at a time.
"If I recycle something, somebody might say there's a very low chance it's actually going to get recycled, but there's a chance," Blackmon said. "All it takes is a group of individuals that are trying to make a difference and that's better than nothing."
An impactful statement by the youth of Chicago as they do their part to save the environment.
"This is the planet that we live in, this the planet that we're always gonna live in -- there's nowhere else for us to go," added fellow student, Shannon Harvey. "So, if we destroy our own planet, we're technically like destroying ourselves."
Many of the AP environmental science students at Lindblom are active in "green groups" or "green internships" in their free time, proving that saving the environment is a priority even if a grade isn't involved.