Jubilee GEAR UP Students Find Solutions to Earth’s Environmental Challenges
Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Students are excited to see if their wind turbine is able to generate renewable energy. Photo by: Ramon Perez
Written by: Gladys Sarabia
September 19, 2022
In the last 50 years, human activity such as pollution, burning fossil fuels and deforestation has drastically increased the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, making our planet warmer. Scientists claim this temperature shift is the lead cause to changing weather patterns, such as intense heat waves, longer droughts, recurring wildfires, melting of polar ice caps, and frequent floods, just to name a few. These extreme weather events are causing the destruction of ecosystems, harming countless animal species and even having an impact on human health.
The Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Program, in partnership with the College 1st Program, conducted a series of Environmental Engineering CAMPs to bring student awareness of the environmental issues our planet is facing. These Environmental Engineering CAMPs were implemented with Elementary and Middle School GEAR UP Students across six Jubilee Academies campuses, including Harlingen, Kingsville, Brownsville, Austin and San Antonio.
Students participated in an interesting debate to discuss important environmental topics such as global warming, the use of plastic in our communities, and companies that contribute to climate change. Then, the students were challenged to use their creative science and engineering skills to invent an environmental solution for our planet. Some of these students’ inventions included innovative electric cars and planes, boats that specialize in collecting ocean plastic, and daily items made of biodegradable materials. Whether it was fighting against pollution, global warming, deforestation or animal poaching, students were motivated to be the change they want to see in the world.
“I really enjoyed learning about the environment and how human activity has affected the planet and its animals, now we can make a change and make the world a better place.” -Caleb Rodriguez, Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Student, said.
Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Student presents environmental invention to reduce carbon emissions from our planet. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon
Students explored the importance of renewable energy sources and how it can drastically reduce carbon emissions and the greenhouse gas effect in our atmosphere. They learned how the burning of non-renewable resources like coal, oil and gas is a major contributor to climate change. The students assumed the role of environmental engineers, where they collaborated in teams to build a wind turbine. After each team completed their wind turbine, the students tested it in front of a wind simulator, which caused the wind turbine tilted blades to spin and power a red-light bulb. Students were thrilled to observe how their wind turbine was generating renewable energy.
“I think it’s good to help the environment because if we don’t save our planet and these endangered animals in the future our children will not be able to see nature’s true beauty.” Said Rose Davis, Jubilee Academies GEAR UP student. “My favorite activity today was building a wind turbine.” Davis concluded.
Currently, there are over 70,000 wind turbines all over the United States, 15,000 of those are producing renewable energy here in the state of Texas. The number of wind turbines is projected to rapidly increase over the next few years. A Yale School of Environment Study reports that 85% of American registered voters support requiring energy companies to transition to renewable energy, while almost half (47%) of American adults are willing to pay a small premium to ensure they get electric power from renewable energy sources. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in the green career industry including solar, wind and construction are projected to grow in the next decade.
Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Student test their wind turbine in front of the wind simulator. Photo by: Ramon Perez
At the end of CAMP, students realized that there is so much they can do to help our planet. Some of them approached the College 1st mentors with ideas to develop environmental student organizations at their school to conduct recycling campaigns, beach clean-ups and bringing awareness of reducing the use of plastic in our communities. Other students expressed interest in pursuing future science or engineering careers to help create future environmental solutions to the challenges our planet is facing.
“Today’s CAMP was so fun that it motivated me to become an environmental engineer.” -Jasmine Salinas, Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Student, said. “Thank you, Jubilee GEAR UP for helping me achieve my dreams.” Salinas concluded.
For more information about the Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Program, please contact them at 1-210-333-6227 or visit their website at www.jubileeacademies.org. College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career and life success. For more details about the College 1st Program, please visit our website at www.College1st.org or call us at 1-877-499-8544.