Victoria Gonzales and Elizabeth Sanchez

Santa Fe High School students

 

Think of our world. What are its issues? What are its needs? We, living in a First World country, tend to believe that the world’s needs only revolve around us. Have you ever imagined homeless children or global warming right outside your front door?

 

Michael Reynolds did. In the 1970s, he invented what are known as earthships. Earthships are eco-friendly homes constructed from recycled materials. They can produce much of their own food, heat and water supply. This is made possible through the use of innovative design that includes solar panels, rainwater harvesting and circulating tubing. These homes originated in Taos, New Mexico, and have since spread to different areas of the world. This type of building reduces pollution and requires less expensive house payments. The average cost of an earthship is $150,000, which is less than the median price of a home in Santa Fe. If a city building were constructed using an earthship design, the money saved could be used for community service projects.

 

Why should these amazing buildings be limited to a single area? Perhaps if this integrated plan were incorporated around the state into individual homes as well as community centers, the entire population would benefit. Take poverty-stricken communities, for example. If a poor community were given the opportunity to gather together in a large, green-built, local food-producing environment, the cost of living would decrease. Who knows? Isn’t it possible that these ideas could be used to create environmentally efficient amusement parks, schools and offices?

 

Another energy-efficient idea could be centered on excitement. What if there were ways that we could have fun, have more places to go, and at the same time use our personal energy as a way to help the environment and do things in a more convenient way? In New York there is a dance floor where, by people merely dancing on the surface, energy is generated. This is called the Piezo Effect. The Piezo Effect creates energy waves, which are generated through movement. What if every club, dancehall, roller rink, basketball court or playground were built like this? What if high school students in their architecture, engineering or technology classes designed and built them? We would have a lot more power, we could reduce carbon, and students could learn how to create green recreational places, something that is sorely needed in Santa Fe. This concept could expand to other applications that could be fun and at the same time helpful to our society.

 

Speaking of creating new recreational places for youth, why not add an eco-friendly, alcohol-free club to Santa Fe? And why not place this sort of club in other cities and states where youth have nothing to do but possibly get in trouble and do illegal things? Perhaps if this concept were applied to schools or other well-populated communities, we might be able to create entrepreneur programs or organizations that would provide for the students as well as surrounding areas from the surplus of energy created.

 

Endangered polar bears and poverty are inextricably linked these days in the face of global warming and the downfall of our economy. The economy will benefit if more “green jobs” are introduced. Green jobs are occupations focused on employment that create a more sustainable society in a variety of sectors like energy, education, economics and agriculture. If these occupations are created for our growing number of unemployed citizens, this will help them build up their skills and self-esteem because they are contributing to the greater good. Not only will they benefit from job security; communities and future generations will also benefit. This will push society to become more informed about the topic, while diminishing poverty.

 

We can begin this mission in schools by educating students about transitioning to a green economy and building green communities that we all know will be better for all. Classes involving construction could assist students in learning “green” housing or mechanics. This may spark fresh ideas for the future of not only the community but also the planet.

 

And what better day to start with a new, positive change than TODAY? If we begin today instead of waiting, and thus see what can be done, we won’t allow the world to progress in a negative way and possibly go under. We hope this article will inspire you to take action now. If not now, when?

 

Victoria Gonzales, a junior, is considering becoming a journalist, and wants to travel to Africa. She also is a dancer, and plays violin and piano.

Elizabeth Sanchez, a sophomore honor student, has read her poetry at Poets in the Schools fundraisers, the Santa Fe Riverfest and in front of a very large crowd in Florida. She is dedicated to creating positive change in the world.

 

 

[SIDEBAR POEM]

Planting a Seed within the Beast
Elizabeth Sanchez

Point at your reflection
And shave off the glass that has vacantly stared back at you for so long.
Draw up your sorrows
And those persistent tears.
Stir up that Alice in Wonderland imagination,
And begin plating those fears
Within the skull
Of the beast inside the mirror.

Remember.
Remember the anxiety,
The trauma,
The pitiless pain,
The excitement,
The drama,
The hard-pouring rain.

Remember me and I will remember you,
As we draw out those thoughts
That we have thrown all askew.

Think of what could be,
And what lies ahead,
As you plant awareness inside
That idle head.

Imagine those free-flying hot air balloons.
Imagine they’re you,
As you ooze out like honey: an uplifting morning dew.

Dream of that iridescent, infinite New Mexico sky,
Calling your name as the time flies by.

Construct castles and monuments inside that
Precious head,
Taking nothing but a needle and a spool of thread
As you lie there,
Restitching answers to the unsaid.

Push aside those past beliefs of:
“I am only one,”
“It is not my place,”
or “I cannot make a difference.”

We must forget,
In order to successfully plant the seed.
Without restraints,
We can finally focus on others’ needs.

It is our duty
To combat the forces of global warming,
Injustice,
And social inequalities.

It is imperative to
Inhale the delicious chile,
Take a ride on the tram,
Recall Roswell,
Run your toes through the White Sands,
Behold the infamous drought,
Place a spotlight on tourism,
And inconceivable doubt.

Rise up,
And we will unite.
Our arms linked together,
Holding on tight.

We ARE New Mexico.
Sing it out loud.
We ARE New Mexico,
Standing above the crowd.