The Tesoro Conservation Club strives to work on larger-scale projects in addition to club activities like hikes and trash cleanups. These include our compost project, possible green roof project, and our current primary focus, the solar project.
the solar panel project:
Tesoro Conservation understands that the most successful environmental movements are often outweighed by the economic and community benefits they bring. Such is the case with the solar panel movement, founded by Russell Tran and the San Juan Hills Ecology Action Team. The vision: to install solar panels on all CUSD schools (including Tesoro), saving money on the schools' massive electricity bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment. The San Juan club gained the support of multiple other clubs, even receiving help from the Berkeley nonprofit KyotaUSA. In addition to identifying project benefits--including long-term savings, more money to spend on extracurriculars, and STEM programs focused on the panels--the coalition of clubs found ways for the District to save money in the short-term, too. They have looked into a number of grants and government funds that the District can use to combat the initial, short-term costs.
It was Tesoro's Conservation Club, though, that has taken a large role in publicizing the solar panel campaign. Spurred on by the club 's article in the Tesoro Newspaper (see: news and articles), the movement gained hundreds of supporters in Tesoro. Speeches and petitioning by the club's leaders throughout their classes led to nearly 500 signatures, with Tesoro Conservation Club gaining more supporters than any other school within the movement. (A large thanks to publicity officer Ally Novales for gaining over 300 of these!) Teachers, students, and parents within the Tesoro community have all expressed their support for the movement. The coalition of clubs have presented their ideas, data, petitions, and everything else to the Capo Unified School District on August 17th. It was a huge success! Our clubs, leaders and supporters persuaded the school board to pass a feasibility analysis. The analysis has been conducted by Arc Alternatives and it has been conservatively estimated that the installation of solar panels in the Capo Unified School District would save 3 to 10 million dollars in the next 20 years. The project is not over yet; however, the clubs plan to give another final presentation to the Capo Unified School District in the near future to hopefully pass a measure for solar later this year. We shall be working in conjunction with ARC Alternatives to hopefully persuade the school board once again. Unlike energy sources such as coal and oil, solar panels present a renewable, self-contained source of energy that could help sustain a healthy Earth for generations to come. Go to cusdsolar.org to find out more about the movement and to sign the petition in support!
The Nutrition Project:
A hidden giant, animal agriculture is the leading cause of global greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and deforestation. The Conservation Club therefore decided to make a difference in our school district, and contacted the Capistrano Unified School District Head of Nutrition Services to talk about the reasons and possibilities for plant-based lunch options. In a meeting between the Director, the High School Food Manager, and the Conservation Club leaders, we discussed the reasons why plant-based an environmentally superior option to animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. We also gave some suggestions of possible meal options, and the Nutrition Services department is currently recipe testing for a new, plant-based cafeteria option.