ACE: A cool presentation for a cooler climate

Alliance for Climate Education guest speaker teaches science classes about climate change.

Kate Alaks and Hannah Pecis

Kate Alaks, Opinion Editor

For the second year, RB has welcomed a representative from the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) to come speak at RB. November 20, ACE speaker Eilene Spear presented to science classes in the auditorium.

An ACE representative for only six months, Spear is passionate about the cause. “It’s really important for students to be informed,” Spear said.

The presentation took place in three parts: the science behind Climate Change, the effects it’s having on the world, and what students can do to get involved. While this may sound similar to past years, the animation and information has been changed, giving the speech a whole new feel. The “average people” animations that show up throughout the presentation are less cartoon-like, instead consisting of colored silhouettes in white clothes. The different look was complimented by slight changes in information and focus. Instead of a wider view, the Effects section focused on the stories of specific teenagers in Alaska, Colorado, and Kansas. The section ended with a look at what was happening locally, in Chicago.

Spear said, “One thing we don’t dwell on [in the presentation] is that it’s our generation that will be affected the most. It’s a powerful personal motivator.”

In addition, while maintaining the focus on ACE’s traditional Do One Thing (DOT) to help the environment, there was an added emphasis on the Right to Know campaign, which hopes to empower people to be informed about climate change, and to make information readily accessible, in schools and otherwise.

Primarily organized by Science Teacher Jame Holt, almost every science class visited the presentation.

“It was really nice to see the change,” senior Anna Menendez said about the new presentation. “I liked the assembly, [even though] I get bored really easily.”

ACE hopes that high school students will start to take action in their schools and communities, and believes that young people will change the world. The end of the presentation was positive look at what other teenagers are already doing, speculating about a sustainable future. While accompanied by peppy music, of course.

So are students ready to save the world?

While some were already knowledgeable about the subject, and ready to make some changes, a few were ambivalent, or fell asleep during the presentation.

“I’ll start by… reusing water bottles more,” said senior Eleanor Ahlberg, but added that sometimes bringing reusable bags into stores was embarrassing.

Still, overall reactions to ACE presentations are empowering.

“I love seeing the different high schools. There’s a lot of really positive energy,” Spear said.