Cutting our Carbon Emissions

Casa Grande High School's transportation and carbon emissions data was recently released for Fall 2018 to measure the school's carbon footprint.

Celeste Chavez, Page editor

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Each year the program ECO2school, apart of the Center for Climate Protection in Sonoma County, along with the Department for Health Services (DHS) helps conduct and analyze the carbon footprints of various Sonoma County Schools. The 2018 fall carbon footprint survey of our school was recently released. This carbon footprint assessment was determined on the basis that there were 1763 students and the average distance students lived from school campus was 2.4 miles. Of the school population, 291 students were surveyed by the DHS.

Each year, vehicle trips to and from school total up to be about 1,584,100 miles. These trips alone produce 1,408,280 pounds of CO2, use 83,820 gallons of gas, and cost $1,120,540. 

A big part of the program is Climate-related education, club support, and our Youth Advisory Board which we hope offers students the ability to make personal changes, engage their communities, and think about how to help usher in big societal level changes as well”

— Kevin Anderson

The CO2 emissions generated are equivalent to 79 flights from SFO to LAX. The gallons of gas consumed is enough to drive 302 round trips to New York City from Petaluma. The cost of the gas usage is enough to pay tuition for 20 students attending a University of California (UC) for four years.

More specific data was conducted using student surveys. Of these surveys, 56 percent of the students own a bike and 35 percent have a license or permit. The methods of transportation are walking, biking, and carpooling or riding the bus. About 18.7 percent of students drive to school by themselves, 12.9 percent of students carpool together, and 33 percent of students get dropped off and picked up by themselves. Of the entire student body, 599 students live within one mile of campus, 365 students live within one to two miles from campus, and 799 students live more than two miles away. Approximately 12.7 percent of them walk (224 students), 3.4 percent bike (61 students) and 31.3 percent carpool or ride the bus (552 students). ECO2school program coordinator Kevin Anderson explains the program’s goal for conducting such surveys.

Casa Grande High School’s Carbon emissions and transportation data.

“The Intention of the surveys is to gain insight into the school’s transportation habits in the hope we can increase active modes of transportation (walking, biking, skating) as well as less carbon-intensive modes of transportation (public transit, carpooling) to and from school,” said Anderson.

ECO2school encourages walking or biking to school for numerous environmental, economic and health reasons. Walking one mile to and from school fulfills 2/3 of the recommended daily physical activity. Walking and biking are also proven to be beneficial to the environment; if everyone walked/biked one day per week CO2 would be reduced by 108,000 pounds per year which is the equivalent to planting and growing 1,270 trees for a decade. They claim traffic congestion would also be heavily reduced as Casa Grande ranks 14th of 19 high schools in Sonoma County for traffic density measured by CalEnviroScreen 3.0. Also, if each student carpools one day a week with another student, each saves $127 per year in vehicle operating costs. Anderson describes what ECO2school is actively trying to encourage with their program.

“As a High School Safe Routes to School provider ECO2school follows many of the same goals the Safe Routes National Organization follows: Education, Encouragement, Equity, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation; it’s a comprehensive approach attempting to shift commute trends to and from school to walking and bicycling more frequently and safely. A big part of our program is Climate-related education, club support, and our Youth Advisory Board which we hope offers students the ability to make personal changes, engage their communities, and think about how to help usher in big societal level changes as well,” said Anderson.

 

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