Students attempt to save the planet

March 21, 2008 10:48:10 AM PDT
You are never too young to make a difference, and we have a great example of that from Foster City.

Some elementary school kids had a future-changing idea and acted on it.

Even in school, we learn some lessons from experience more than from books.

"What are the different kinds of energy?" asked teacher Roseanne Wong.

And so the extra-curricular activity last year, at the Foster City elementary school, kids for whom climate change will be a lifetime concern.

"I'm worried about all the animals," said one student.

"Is it our fault?" asked ABC7's Wayne Freedman.

"Partly," said one student.

But they have not been passive observers. Teacher Rosanne Wong made sure of that, when she assigned the class a global warming project.

"So we outlined issues. We came up with twenty ides to reduce it for out city," said Wong.

One of the kids' observations, that we use too much electricity generated by coal burning power plants. They think solar panels would be better.

"So you are telling me that kids could make a difference," asked Freedman.

"Yes," said a student.

"You could make a difference?" asked Freedman.

"We did," said the student.

It began when they wrote a letter to Linda Koelling, Foster City's mayor at that time.

"You can't say know to kids," said Foster City councilmember Linda Koelling.

She listened to their comments, which included an observation that Foster City required a $900 dollar filing fee for anyone installing solar panels.

The students were so convincing that the mayor took their case to the council.

"The first time around, we cut the fee in half. And then the final year, actually the last year, we eliminated the fee, altogether," said Koelling.

That's no small step in this city of 30,000 people that sits five feet above a rising sea level ans is surrounded by a levee.

In the past year, some residents have taken advantage of the new policy, including Jeff Regan.

"It's one of those things where you go street by street and neighborhood by neighborhood and try to do something to save the environment," said Foster City resident Jeff Regan.

Or, class by class and child by child.

"We were just kids, and they don't matter much. But we changed the city," said a student.

A work in progress.


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