The New School is committed to environmental and social justice. Here at The New School students explore the interconnections of humans and nature through engagement with a variety of activities that promote balanced change. We encourage students to find ways to apply what they learn about sustainability at the school, at home, and in their greater communities.

Currently, a group of students and teachers are working with the Energy Efficiency Council in Kennebunk to provide research and recommendations to decrease our town’s carbon footprint. Over the summer these groups worked together to encourage and successfully convince the town to sign on with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

Updates from the Summer, 2019 work:

We began our year with an adventurous project to begin inventorying Kennebunk’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the long term, our goal is to work with the town and international organizations such as ICLEI to create a database with information on Kennebunk’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2016-2018. Using this data, we aim to make a set of adaptation and mitigation recommendations for the town to consider moving forward to combat climate change. We hope this effort becomes a regular function of town operations at the municipal level.

Meeting at the end of the school year, the Energy Efficiency Committee of Kennebunk, Ally, and I met to determine how best to continue our momentum over the summer on our town project. We identified several goals to address over the summer, including fixing an error an our data from Kennebunk Light and Power, working through a set of vehicle information from the town, and building relationships to begin with the next phase of our project; inventorying schools, the sewer/water district, and the commuter traffic. At this point, we also decided to involve a student intern to help assist in the work and potentially act as a leader in our next phase.

Summer began with a variety of additional learning experiences as well. Over this time period, Ally and I have collected several resources for the class, including a variety of articles, Rethinking School’s work on climate justice, and the Zinn Education Project lessons. Several webinars and events were attended as well, including a webinar on the YESS Program in California that focuses on sea-level rise and a talk by Dr. Habib J. Dagher on Maine’s potential for offshore wind technology, as well as several recorded videos through the organization we have been working with, ICLEI. Recently, our student intern helped fix our Kennebunk Light and Power error, correcting our data. Our remaining goal is to sort through the vehicle information we have acquired from the town before our school year begins and our class moves on to the next phase.