BFA High School Students Attend Summit on Confronting Climate Change

Target – Leadership in a Student-Centered Learning Environment. FWSU will foster development of teacher and student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.

Action Step – Develop learning habits, communication and problem-solving skills necessary for collaborative learning and leadership.

Indicator of Success – Teachers embrace the role of coach, facilitator and co-learner in a student-centered learning environment.

BFA High School students Jocelyn Lawrence, Kailey Ware and Anne DeZalia and science teacher Tom Lane recently attended the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Summit on “Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change” at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT.

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The summit report is available at http://vtrural.org/programs/summits/2015-climate-economy-report  The summit included over 70 speakers and panelists connected to multiple sectors and key issue areas within the State of Vermont.

The Climate Science “Fishbowl” early in the day discussed the question; How will Regional and Global Climate Change Affect Vermont’s Future? Panelists: Jon Erikson (Prof. Ecological Economics Rubenstein School, UVM), Alan Betts (President of VT Academy of Science and Engineering) and Gillian Galford (Earth Systems Scientist, UVM) had plenty to say about how climate has changed on a world, national and local level.

“We have an immoral economic system of maximizing profits by externalizing costs…”  (Dr. Alan Betts)

“There needs to be a change in capitalism, a few are making large amounts of money and external costs are passed onto the masses…”  (Jon Erikson)

(During introductions, VT Governor Peter Shumlin spoke about “Vermont as a Climate Leader” - Photo courtesy of ActionCircles1)

(During introductions, VT Governor Peter Shumlin spoke about “Vermont as a Climate Leader” – Photo courtesy of ActionCircles1)

Some of the morning sessions students attended were:

  • Advancing Community-Based Climate Action” featuring panelists: Jamison Ervin (Waterbury LEAP), Jeff Forward (Richmond Climate Action Committee), Sarah Simonds (Director, Vital Communities) and Joshua Schwartz (Exe. Dir. Mad River Valley Planning District)
  • Promoting a Vision for Transportation Renewal” with panelists: Karen Giltman (Director, VEIC Transportation), Richard Watts (Director, CDAE and the Center for Research on Vermont), John Hollar (Mayor, Montpelier, VT), and Matt George (CEO, Bridj),
  • Developing Ubiquitous Distributed Energy” panelists: Kerrick Johnson (VELCO), Josh Castonguay (Dir. of Generation, Green Mountain Power), Nathaniel Vandal (Principal, Green Peak Solar) and Asa Hopkins (Dir. of Energy Policy and Planning at VT Dept. of Public Service),
  • Strengthening Farm and Forest Carbon Sequestration and Profitability” panelists: Marie Audet (Blue Spruce Farm), Will Stevens (Golden Russett Farm), Richard Carbonetti (Sen. VP Timberlands, LandVest Inc.) and Lisa Ransom (Owner, Grow Compost of Vermont).

“It was interesting listening to business leaders and their perspective on renewable resource development in Vermont”,  said BFA student Annaliese DeZalia.

“This was a fantastic experience for students to come in contact with decision makers and business leaders from around the state of Vermont to gain first hand knowledge of how Vermont is confronting climate change”,  said BFA science teacher Tom Lane.

(Keynote speaker Jigar Shah, founder and former CEO of SunEdison outlines how entrepreneurs and investors can unlock the potential that climate change represents.)

(Keynote speaker Jigar Shah, founder and former CEO of SunEdison outlines how entrepreneurs and investors can unlock the potential that climate change represents.)

lane5A big thank you to FWSU Curriculum Coordinator Mary Lynn Riggs and Peter Lynch Director of Green Across the Pacific (GTAP). Ms. Riggs arranged for GTAP to provide conference registration for BFA students Jocelyn, Kailey, Anne and Science Teacher Tom Lane. GATP is a program that engages students in a variety of exchange and apprenticeship programs in South China, Tottori, Japan, Bhutan and Vermont, USA.

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