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Teenagers Turning the Tide

Santa Barbara High’s AP Environmental Science Class Works to Better the World


Education. That word for most people either triggers angst against the public school system or feelings of inspiration and hope for upcoming generations. Yet everyone can agree that such a great emphasis is placed on education because even pessimistic teenagers hope that societies constantly improve and that enjoyable “anythings” will be added to this world.

At Santa Barbara High School, students in the AP (advanced placement) environmental science program are putting our education into action. After gaining a year of knowledge, our teacher has handed over the class and told us to improve an aspect of our community by focusing on an environmental problem that can be helped. There are four projects, each with a president and four committee chairs. A professional campaign must be created over a period of about two weeks, including a website, outreach to the public, events to encourage interest, and hours of organizing.

While still protected by the bubble of high school, we have been thrown into the “real world” and have attempted to gain respect from locals in spite of our sometimes reckless reputations as teenagers. In other words, the process of changing something has been a challenge.

But it has been a challenge worthwhile. It was like an experiment, and we have nervously surged forward with hopes of somewhat victorious results. Next time we will surely improve even more, when we are no longer protected by grades and systems.

After the end of the second week, the project was no longer as much about the original environmental problem as it was about the realization that we are 17-year-olds pulling off something most 40-year-olds simply don’t have time for. Even if we have only reached a fraction of Santa Barbara, we reached that fraction that would have otherwise been untouched. Small efforts are vital and responsible for much of the changing. Next year, more locals will be reached by AP environmental science students, and more the next year, until finally ideas will pour outside of city limits.

The four projects are :

S.E.A.: The Rising Line: Blue ribbons will be pinned to trees and buildings from the wharf to about the fourth block of State Street to remind citizens what effects global warming and sea expansion will have on our coastal town. See thegreenacademy.com, follow link to S.E.A.

SB Water Wise: Students raise awareness about water conservation, a skill necessary for Santa Barbara’s current drought period. Trained teams will perform house consultations/adjustments to improve household water efficiency. See thegreenacademy.com, follow link to SB Water Wise

SB Green Cuisine: Transportation of foods adds an immense addition to pollution. This project brings attention to buying locally/ seasonally grown foods. Students provide recipes for local produce for each season.See sbgreencuisine.org.

Enviro Drive: Things such as tire pressure can affect gas mileage/car efficiency. Students are offering tips and car adjustments to help reduce local CO2 emissions. See thegreenacademy.com, and follow the link to Enviro Drive

Maren Schiffer is a junior at Santa Barbara High School.



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