By Jenelle Blumer
Global warming is happening, and it’s happening all around us. The time for debate about climate change is over. It’s time to act now.
What is a carbon footprint, and what does it have to do with global warming? Global  Carbon footprintwarming is when the earth’s temperature increases due to excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a building, event, or group. That means all high schools have their own carbon footprint, including Riverside.
According to the 2013 School District 43 CNAR (Carbon Neutral Annual Report), Coquitlam School District 43 releases 9000-10000 tons of carbon emissions each year. “The school district has to pay a fund for how large our carbon footprint is,” said Brenda Yorke, a teacher and leader of the environment club. “The less energy and paper we use in this school, the more we’re saving as a school district – and the more we get to keep our money to use for students.”
Riverside’s aim is to be more ecofriendly and to reduce its annual carbon footprint. There are two different ways a member of the Riverside Community can help with this – composting, and conserving energy.
A composting/organic food waste program could help reduce carbon emissions greatly. “We’ve actually added composting bins in the cafeteria,” said principal Anthony Ciolfitto. “We would like to get them further distributed throughout the school. But we’re having some challenges around how to deal with fruit flies and rodents and things like that.”
According to Bree Mireau, the environment club is addressing the food waste issue at Riverside by encouraging students to compost more. 40% of our garbage is organic waste, which produces toxic methane gas if it is not composted. Simply throwing your food waste into a composting bin is significant as compost over time decomposes into a rich nutrient filled soil that is very good for plants!
90% of Coquitlam School District’s carbon emissions is due to building, heating, generators, and electricity. That means that conserving energy is also very important at Riverside.
“What would be awesome is if students thought about using devices for what we need to do with them,” said Ciolfitto. “Everytime we use devices for things just to fill time, there’s no purpose to it, and the reality is we are just wasting energy because we have to recharge. So using a device for constructive things only is a start.” Always remembering to always turn off lights and to print double sided is helpful as well.
Joe Lieberman, a former US senator, once said that “Global warming is not a conqueror to kneel before- but a challenge to rise to. A challenge we must rise to.” The environment needs your help, and you can get involved by helping Riverside to reduce its carbon footprint!