Close to Home: 4th graders can make a difference on energy, climate change
In our fourth grade class, we have been studying energy. Energy is what makes things work, it comes in many forms, and humans depend on it.
To study energy, first, we invited UC Berkeley and public transportation experts from the program called Y-PLAN (Youth-Plan Learn Act Now) to help us build a model of Santa Rosa, understand our environment better and begin thinking about how we want Santa Rosa to be better in the future.
Second, we worked with local science experts to create electricity using a battery and wires and to generate energy on a mini windmill.
We have also been reading a book called “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” which is about a boy in Malawi named William who made his own windmill out of reusable objects to save his town from starvation. We used technology to interview people in Malawi, so that we could compare life in Santa Rosa to Malawi, where only 3% of people in the village have access to electricity.
Finally, we did a bike rodeo and learned that bikes help us get places, but don’t waste gasoline or fossil fuels like cars.
By learning all of these different things, we developed our opinions about how humans should treat energy. In our opinion, humans should not waste energy because our lives depend on it and not everyone has access to it. Humans should also care about conserving energy because it is affecting global warming.
It’s easy to think that energy is unlimited and that global warming is not happening, but when you look at the facts, it is clear that humans depend on unsustainable sources of energy like fossil fuels, and that is creating global warming. Species are dying, and humans are also dying in floods and other natural disasters. We need to do something about it. If we do, it could change the world in the future.
We did a lot of reading and research, and we have ideas. Some ideas we have for humans to save energy are: use less light, eat less meat and dairy, talk to politicians about this problem, turn off the TV, drive less and bike more, fly less on planes, recycle, cut down fewer trees and plant more trees, work to convince other people to learn about how to care for the planet and recycle.
We also want to see more solar panels being put up in all communities, because we know that some communities don’t have as much access to this form of renewable energy as others do.
It is also our opinion that kids can make a difference. We believe kids can make a difference because we have seen many examples of it happening. We read an editorial from kids in Marin County who also worked with UC Berkeley and Y-PLAN, and were inspired to write our own editorial.
We have also learned about youth leaders like Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Greta Thunberg who are taking action and motivating others to care about protecting our planet. We can write essays, we can make speeches, and we have a lot of energy to inspire other people. We even started an Earth Club.
Some people might think we are too young to make a difference, but if we were too young to make a difference, we wouldn’t be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading this.
In conclusion, we only have one planet and kids can help protect it by learning about energy, and thinking about how we can make better decisions for the future of Santa Rosa.
Submitted by fourth grade students from Cesar Chavez Language Academy in Santa Rosa: