Category Archives: Solar State

From Miami-Dade’s Honor College to Middle & High Schoolers, KIDS GET IT!

So why is it that so few adults in Washington ‘get it’?

The stories pouring out of Washington this past week such as attempts to expand coal mining, eliminating important steps to protect our climate, and (http://www.recorder.com/Trump-order-could-ease-restrictions-on-oil-and-gas-drilling-in-some-national-parks-8987014) news that oil companies could be allowed to explore and drill wells in some of America’s National Parks (including Big Cyprus and Everglades National Park!) have many people rightfully upset, myself included. If needed, I’ll spend the rest of my life working to prevent oil explorations at Big Cyprus or Everglades National Park (have the so called “adults” in charge of these changes lost their minds?) and I am certain I will not be alone.

Why am I so certain?

Well, I only need think of the students that I have lectured to and met over the last few weeks. You only need to hear of their concerns, the passions in their voices and to look into their eyes to know that they are worried about what we are doing to our planet, much less their (rightful) fears over what the new “leadership” in Washington has been doing over the last month or two.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College has the largest institution of higher education in America and their very best students are enrolled in the Honor’s College. These young men and women are an impressive, motivated, and highly intelligent group and I learned that up close earlier this month when I presented a full lecture on climate change, sea level rise and what we need to do to solve this growing crisis. These energetic students were passionate about my talk and the need to get serious about fixing the problem. While those in power in Washington might not be serious about our changing climate, the Miami Dade College Honor’s students most certainly were.

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The Sagemont School

The Sagemont School is located on the edge of the Everglades in far, far Western Broward County in Weston. The middle and high school students that I met with this month might not yet be in college but they sure did express their concerns and are most certainly concerned about whether America’s leaders are serious about creating a sustainable future and protecting our planet.

And why not? No place in America is at greater risk from our ocean’s rising seas than South Florida and no place within South Florida is more at risk of extinction than the Everglades, whose grasslands you can see from the back of the school. Even the youngest students in attendance for my talk that day ‘get it’ and are worried about what is happening to our planet and want to help solve the problem. 

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Delaney,

Wow! Where do I start?
 You are an incredibly bright & passionate young woman who has discovered their gift at an early age and is sharing it with the world. Your light shines for others to see.
Your presentation was captivating, educational & left the kids realizing we can all do something to make a difference. 
It was a pleasure to meet you. I am so grateful you were able to join us!
*By the way, my sustainability class LOVED your books!!!
Thank you for what you do. You are amazing & inspiring!
Elaine Fiore

Climate & Sports Student Summit


And just last weekend I had the pleasure of being the closing speaker at the Climate & Sports Student Summit at American Airlines Arena that was organized by the Green Sports Alliance and the Miami Heat.

IMG_8047The students at this event were from schools all over South Florida and they were not only concerned about what is happening in Washington, as well as South Florida, but I am pleased to report that many of them are already deeply engaged in being part of the solution. And to prove it, they spent an entire Saturday learning about and working on ways to protect our precious environment.

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4638996Take, for example, attendees and speakers Kayla and Kimberly Correiea. These two incredible young women (mind you, they are, like myself, high school students) have founded the Plastic Free Mermaids organization (http://plasticfreemermaids.weebly.com) and bring awareness about the dangers of plastic in our marine environment, host cleanups and educate others on how to live in a plastic free lifestyle. These girls are amazing and are also very serious about having a positive impact in our world. Please consider visiting their website and following them on social media.
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And speaking of the Climate & Sports Student Summit and how serious today’s youth is about learning about what is happening to Florida and how they can help, please consider the note I received after my lecture at the home of the Miami Heat from Mel Rigo who wrote:

Good afternoon Delaney, I attended the American Airlines Arena Summit last Saturday and was really interested in what you presented. After talking it through with my teacher, we’ve decided to contact you and see if you’d be willing to attend our school … April is Earth month and our students have come up with themes for each week of the month, the first week of April will be water week which is why we would definitely love it if you’d like to attend and speak to our students during lunch. Pines Middle School welcomes you and would greatly appreciate it if you could come and tell us about what could soon be happening to our state. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Melanie Rigo from Pines Middle School

While many of the adults in Washington right now might not understand (or, at the very least, act like they understand) the importance of shifting our economy from fossil fuels to sustainable solutions such as solar, I can tell you that kids most certainly, absolutely, and undeniably ‘get it’ and these three recent groups once again prove that is the case.

As stupid as the suggestion from the adults ‘in charge’ right now might be that they want to expand coal mining or drill everywhere possible including in our National Parks (!), today’s youth are committed to fixing the climate crisis and ensuring that we change our ways.

Of that, I promise.

March for Science Miami

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When I learned of plans to have the first ever March for Science that will take place in Washington on Earth Day (April 22nd), I knew that we had to have a march here in Miami. That very night I created a social media account for a Miami March for Science, as well as a logo patterned after the Washington group’s artwork and began to think of others who would help support all of the cool science taking place in our region and the world.

900_7329f207-b69c-4f7e-8322-9f628fd81358_6587944b-520d-4f6b-bb9f-e075e86c3059_aae036c4-f36f-4c5f-b376-e0e694320656I am so very pleased to share with you that many people in our community are eager to tout the benefits of science and that I have the honor to now be working with some exceptional, passionate, folks who are organizing the official Miami march. A non-profit organization has been formed for the event along with a wonderful website (https://www.sciencemarchmiami.org) and tens of thousands of people have offered to support the effort including a range of local and national organizations, including Miami Waterkeepers, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Natural History Museum, the Nature Conservancy and the Women’s March Miami to name just a few. In addition to attending the upcoming march, you can even get some seriously cool merch to support the march in the form of tee shirts by visiting the Participate page on our website (https://www.sciencemarchmiami.org/indexhi).

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So come on Miami, mark you calendars for Earth Day, April 22nd, and join us at Museum Park in Downtown Miami at 11:00 am. Please keep an eye out on The Sink or Swim Project’s social media for more ‘Miami March’ news or follow the March on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and please share the details with all your friends. The more people that march on April 22nd and the louder our voices become, the better. We all know that science trumps politics!

Out of Africa

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“The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequalled nobility.”

Karen Blixen, Out of Africa, 1937

On Thursday my brother Owen and I will leave Miami for a two week trip to South Africa and needless to say we are both very excited. Our trip includes visits to Johannesburg, Mpumalanga, Soweto and Cape Town, a camping excursion and safari in Kruger National Park as well as a visit to Mandela House and the opportunity to learn about apartheid by visiting many of its most historic sites. I can’t wait to see the natural environment there as well as meet the people and experience their diverse and historic culture.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to

Change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Owen and I are fortunate to attend a school (Palmer Trinity) that is committed to developing what they call global scholars. Last year, for example, Owen traveled to China as part of his curriculum and over the years there I’ve been able to visit the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii.

I’ve scaled mountains, hiked to the top of volcanoes and swam with white tip sharks, sea turtles and giant manta rays as part of the best high school experience I could ever imagine. This week I am especially excited to travel with my brother on such a trip for the first time (and in my case the last one while still in high school since graduation day is nearly here!).

I’d like to thank Palmer for making these amazing opportunities available to its students and want to especially thank Mr. Chapman, our Head of Upper School, Mrs. Sidhu and Dr. Lane who will be traveling with us on this incredible trip. Time permitting I will post during our travels and will most certainly share stories about our adventures when I return.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. “

Nelson Mandela

 

Post-Scripts:

Palmetto Bay Declares February 6th, Delaney Reynolds &

The Sink or Swim Project Day

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I am proud to share that my work with The Sink or Swim Project was honored last week by the Village of Palmetto Bay with a lovely Proclamation honoring my work.

Upon receiving the Proclamation from the Mayor and Village Council I took the opportunity to ask them to consider working with me to draft a new law to require that any new construction within the Village and all material renovations require that the maximum amount of solar power be installed so that we can make progress into turning The Sunshine State into THE Solar State. I hope that the Village of Palmetto Bay will join me in writing such a law and in doing so help Florida take a giant step forward towards a sustainable future.

Thanks ever so much to the entire Council for this honor and especially to the Mayor for his kind words as well as to Councilwoman Cunningham for taking such an interest in my work and The Sink or Swim Project.

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Miami Dade College Honors College / Earth Ethics Institute: March 2, 2017

I am excited to share that on March 2nd I will be presenting a brand new Sink or Swim lecture at the Miami Dade College Honors College on the North Campus in Room 1373 from 3:30 PM until 5:00 PM.

Since its inception, the Earth Ethics Institute has introduced the Miami Dade College community to the new way of thinking called “Earth Literacy” which constitutes a greater understanding of the evolution of our Universe and how everything in it is connected.

Founded in 1960, Miami Dade College has the largest undergraduate enrollment of any college or university in America.

Thanks to Program Professional Stephen Nesvacil, Miami Dade College and the Earth Ethics Institute for the invitation. I look forward to seeing everyone on the 2nd and collaborating on ideas for a sustainable future.

 

MAST Academy Solar Update: Green Leadership Grant

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Exciting News! As an update to my recent blog (http://miamisearise.com/2017/02/06/the-mast-makos-sustainable-future-kids-get-it/) following my visit to MAST Academy on Key Biscayne I am pleased to share with you that the school is installing a ‘solar hub’ and has won a grant from the Dream in Green organization to help fund its costs. The solar hub is planned for the school’s dining room and will allow students to charge their electronic devices from the sun’s power through a solar system. Congrats to MAST’s Principal Ms. Otero and the entire student body for winning this grant and beginning your solar powered journey! Way to go Makos!

I am extra proud of this news not only given my recent lecture for MAST’s 1,500 students but because I am proudly a Dream in Green Youth Ambassador and in that capacity was happy to advocate for this project.  The Dream in Green Leadership Grant program makes available monthly grants for elementary, middle and high schools that participate in the Dream in Green Academy and does so to support green teams in bringing their project ideas from conception to creation.

I look forward to continuing to help MAST in any way possible in hopes that the solar hub is just the start of a wider scale solar and sustainable program that can be used to educate it students, other schools and the Key Biscayne Community about the power of the sun. Working together we can surely turn The Sunshine State into THE Solar State!

The MAST Makos’ Sustainable Future: Kid’s Get It

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If you’ve ever wondered whether today’s youth understand that our warming planet is causing a growing crisis, or whether my peers are serious about solving the problem then you only needed to be with me last week when I spent a day with 1,500 Middle and High school students at MAST Academy.  And if you’ve ever been concerned about whether kids can quickly swing into action to create those solutions then you sure would have been impressed by the kids that I met on campus that day.

MAST Academy is a nationally recognized school, the only maritime and science technology magnet middle and high school in the Miami-Dade County system and has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus.

It also happens to be located on Key Biscayne, a beautiful barrier island just off the coast of Miami, that is only one of the most susceptible places on earth to a future of sea level rise. In fact, at the rate we are going it’s likely that MAST and much, perhaps all, of Key Biscayne will be under water in a few decades unless those kids and others like them join me in solving this problem.

IMG_7273I started my morning with presentations to two groups of high school students that filled the school’s auditorium. These young people were very engaged, had excellent questions, and were eager to learn more about what they could do to help.

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I then spoke to the school’s environmental clubs and we discussed ideas to help make their school and community more sustainable. Prior to my visit I was asked to help the children think of new projects, to inspire and motivate them. We talked about their recycling initiatives, beach cleanups and campus greenhouse. And we talked a lot about solar power, a topic that the students were fascinated with.

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While my time with the high school students and clubs was amazing, perhaps the highlight of my day was the enthusiasm of the middle schoolers that packed every seat in the auditorium after lunch. In fact, after my lecture these students had over an hour of questions and comments about climate change, sea rise and solutions to these problems.

IMG_7302The children were so enthusiastic that day that the school’s leadership was spontaneously inspired to create a school-wide sustainability committee. Over 50 children volunteered on their own volition to participate and then joined me to discuss how they could raise money, approach local political leaders, design, plan and implement a range of projects on their campus and in their community.

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When I say that these children were motivated, I really do mean it. They were hungry to  learn and become involved and, most importantly, to solve the climate change crisis with one another. As I have said and seen many times before, Kids Get It and that sure is true at MAST Academy.

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Thanks to Michele Drucker for kindly inviting me and being so enthusiastic towards the children as well as me and my work.

Thanks also to MAST’s Principal Ms. Otero for allowing me to visit her school as well as supporting the children’s excitement for the future.

I’ve promised to return to MAST and help the children in any way that I can and I look forward to doing that so as to build on their enthusiasm. It’s exactly that type of enthusiasm that gives me great hope that by working together my peers and I will, in fact, solve the climate crisis.

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