Archive for March, 2009

TPS Climate Debates a Success – Team Ho & Chan Champions

101_0243 Yesterday, March 30th, Kerr’s Green Debate team hosted its largest “The People Speaks” Public Forum Climate Debates sponsored by the United Nation’s Foundation and BP A+ for Energy. Twelve freshmen and sophomores of Kerr’s Green Debate Team competed all afternoon for the coveted final two spots to educated our community on the issues of climate change and to answer the question, “Do Developed Countries have a higher obligation to combat climate change.”

The freshmen team of Brian Ng and Jay Meza were narrowly squeezed out by sophmore Almayra Porratta-Doria and freshman Dennis Chau, who competed against sophomore Nicholas Chan and freshman Jessie Ho. Our esteemed judges panel for the Finals of the Public Debates, included our Alief School Board President, Sarah Winkler, and School Board Secretary, Dr. John Hansen, and our very own Mr. Lowery. After a round of questions from the judges, Dr. Hansen, a former debater himself, said a few words, then announced the winning team as that of Chan-Ho to take home the Grand Championship for this great event. Al finalist received beautiful IDEA Debate Medals.

As a part of our culminating activities with this years BP A+ for Energy Project, the team also gave cash scholarship awards to our local artist that participated in our Alternative Energy Art Contest. Three artist works that were used in promoting the debates on T-shirts and posters, along with the program took home $400 in scholarship money.

The night ended with Coach Davis presenting Principal Raymond Lowery with a pledge donation for $200 to purchase the memorial plaque for Mrs. Mullins dedication of the Kerr Tranquility Garden which will take place in May.

Many stayed afterwards to congratulate our debaters and artist and it turned our to be a great community affair. Special thanks to Alief Fine Arts Director, Sarah Chapmanm, who was also an honored guest and to every parent and student that made this a night to remember.

– The Green Debate Team

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NAHS, Greensquad, & Green Debate Clean Up

101_0135Over twenty-five Kerr students and teachers from the NAHS, Greensquad, and the Green Debate team had a great day cleaning up Brays Bayou Saturday morning. Despite a chilling breeze, these students had fun while doing something from their community.

Brays Bayou is a valuable natural resource that runs right through Alief and many enjoy its natural beauty, when it is clean. Mrs. Canarro, the key organizer of the group, walks her dog along the bayou and noticed the garbage that careless residents have litterd its shores. So, these groups wanted to take action.

It was a great success, as bag after bag of refuge was collected and large items such as a railroad cross sign, and a ladder was pulled out of the water. Teachers Mrs. Bancroft had many of her AP environmental Science students working by her side, and Mrs. Maness-Richards had her students working side by side. Coach Davis even had his son collect a bag of trash bigger than the seven year old himself. 101_0128These groups hope to continue their

efforts in April in order to beautify our community.

Don’t forget to show up to tonights “TPS Climate Debates” in the Kerr Black Box theatre at 6:30 as many of these same peole will be there to review some of the Green Debate Teams efforts this year and view the finals of the TPS debates. The awards for the Alternative Energy Art Contest will also be given out along with donations for the Tranquility garden.

– The Green Debate Team

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Wind for the Win

windMany of us know that wind energy is a popular source of alternative energy. Wind energy in many ways is very beneficial to the earth and those that live on it.

Although wind energy is intermittent, or doesn’t blow at all times, there are battery storage technologies that exists and that can be used to store the energy for future usage. This makes wind powered turbine very efficient. Also along the lines of efficiency, wind energy can be found where the wind is blowing, including the U.S. Because the United States imports oil from overseas and spends almost $70 million dollars of it every year, converting to a free source that can be provided on its home front is not a bad idea.

Wind energy is very cheap seeing how it exists throughout the world. Turbines can be placed on the shores of the United States to capture wind. Because it is very abundant, Boone Pickens believes that for 4-6 cents a kilowatt of energy could be given. In the economic crisis that individuals are in, switching to wind energy could save lots of money.

Because the earth’s temperature is continuing to increase, there must be a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. That means reducing the usage of our cars, materials, and electricity. If energy did not involve burning fossil fuels then our lifestyles would not be forced to change. Although wind turbines may use some fossil fuels, it is still less than oil, petroleum, or gas.

This green movement calls for alternative energy and wind energy is the answer. Wind energy is the key to an efficient source of energy for the people; it’s cheaper, and can help solve global warming.

– By Jessie Ho

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The Dead helping the Living?

According to recent news, a city in the Western region of Sweden, named Halmstad, has decided to take a bold new move in alternative energy. While most cities use resources such as natural gas to provide heat, this city has decided that they will use the energy created by ovens in a crematorium to heat the cemetery grounds. If the plans go well, the city will begin to develop plans to use the energy from the crematorium to heat the entire city, including places such as local businesses, homes, and other buildings in the city. Not only will this new plan save the crematorium money, it will also reduce the amount of natural gas and electricity needed to power the city. This innovative alternative energy method will help decrease the amount of air pollutants released, and also conserve natural resources. Methods such as this one are not only creative but also leading the way to a better future.

-Rumana Kermalli

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Brays Bayou Clean Up This Weekend

brays-clean-upOne of the central themes of the the Green Debate Team’s  on going campaigns has been taking direct action to make a difference in our local community. This Saturday, March 28th, students from the Speech Team, the school’s National Art Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Student Council, and other clubs, will be cleaning up the local Brays Bayou in effort to not only beautify our local community, but also show care for a very valuable natural resource to our community.

Make sure if you are going to have all forms in to your sponsore. Coach Davis needs all permission forms first thing Friday morning. Also, if things go right, he should have the Alternative Energy Green Shirts in Friday, so you can come by speech to get your shirt.

Monday, we will debate what developed nations can do to combate climate change; this Saturday, each individual can take action in their own neighborhood.

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Alief School Board to Judge Climate Debates!

s-winklerTwo esteemed members of the Alief School Board will be judging the final round of Kerr’s TPS Global Debates on March 30th. Coach Davis and Ainee Athar attended theAlief School Board Meeting yesterday and were please to get committments from Sarah Winkler, School Board President and Dr. John Hansen, Alief Community Foundation President.

dr-hansenThese two representatives have been great contributors to our Alief community and we are pleased to have these elected officials adjudicating our event. We have letters out to certain other city officials and representatives from BP Energy, so make sure you come out to see our honored guest next Monday in the Kerr Black Box Theatre.

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, chats with Wang Yongliang, the general manager of the Taiyanggong Gas-Fired Thermal Power Plant

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, chats with Wang Yongliang, the general manager of the Taiyanggong Gas-Fired Thermal Power Plant

Climate change is an important item on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s agenda, especially on her upcoming visit to China. It seems that Mrs. Clinton is all for improved living standards and development, but such should be achieved in an eco-friendly way addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

At a rapid pace of two a week, China has been building coal power plants for electricity for growing middle class, but Secretary Clinton strongly opposes this. The standing points of clash being China is emitting less greenhouse gases than the US when considering per-capita emissions and the US using coal in the past to develop quicker.

Secy. Clinton still opposes the ideas responding that China’s per-capita emissions have now exceeded the US’ emissions. Secondly, Clinton is adamant on issues of climate change – no ifs, ands, or buts. She says climate change doesn’t care about per-capita – it’s about the total amount of emissions, period. And lastly that it is true the US developed using coal, but that was a mistake that should not be repeated.

Despite this, Beijing’s new Taiyanggong Thermal Power Plant, CHCP (combined-heating-cooling-and-power plant), uses natural gas to drive the turbine, part of the waste heat for municipal heating and the rest of the waste heat for cooling (via absorption coolers). This power plant does not emit the particulates found in coal exhaust, emits less CO2, and is far more efficient. It is the poster child for the next generation of Chinese power production.

Realistically, the coal plants will not be replaced by the CHCPs. The CHCP was paid for in part by the UN Clean Development Mechanism, that funds clean energy projects in the “developing world.” This was great for publicity, but what we really need is either some favorable economics (maybe these plants would pay for themselves over time if there were a carbon tax/cap), or a serious government initiative to bring coal to a halt.

– Ayesha Malik

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