SPRING HILL — The guest speaker at Fox Chapel Middle School brought an impressive calm to a cafeteria full of seventh-graders on the eve of Earth Day.
Jane Maxwell, a volunteer with the Climate Project, spoke at the request of seventh-grade science teacher Nikki Limberis.
"I do this presentation for the Climate Project," Maxwell said, "because I think it is an extremely serious problem we're facing. If we don't do anything now, it will soon be too late."
Maxwell showed slides illustrating how the Earth's atmosphere is warmed, the ups and downs of carbon dioxide levels, and melting glaciers. She explained how warmer water produces more intense hurricanes and how higher temperatures cause record tornadoes, floods, droughts and melting permafrost.
Kayla Montealegre, 13, said she learned "that the population has increased a lot and, even though China has more people than us, we've used more stuff."
Nikki Fox, 13, said she's concerned that "the polar bears will be extinct soon."
Richard Kalman, 13, said, "There are more things that we can do to save the environment." Examples he used were electric cars, recycled cans and changing to more energy-efficient light bulbs "to save $60 a year." Nikki suggested using light dimmers.
Maxwell's visit was part of Limberis' lesson on global warming, which also included involving the students in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The agreement is part of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mayors who sign on agree to help support the protocol in whatever ways are appropriate.
Limberis' students wrote letters to mayors of Florida cities.
"We wrote to mayors and asked
them to join the climate protection agreement," she said. "When we
started in October, only 696 mayors had signed. The total count is now 839. We wrote to 86 mayors. Some signed, stating that they didn't know about it and appreciated our letters. Some declined for various political reasons."
Maxwell said she blamed her generation for the environmental problems facing the world and looks to the young people to fix them. One thing she can do is educate by making presentations.
"Anybody who wants me to talk to them, I'll do it," she said. Maxwell can be reached at (727) 709-3398.