BBA holds Earth Day Summit

As seen in the Manchester Journal:

PERU — As frogs provided the background noise from a nearby pond, Sage Lalor stood with dozens of her fellow Burr and Burton Academy classmates and fellow environmentalists in a large human circle outside the building at the BBA Mountain Campus.

It was the closing ceremony of sorts for the day's events and Lalor wore a huge smile. Whether she was beaming at the turnout that celebrated Earth Day during a day-long summit or savoring the moment was hard to tell.

Lalor had planned and executed the event as part of her independent study, "Government, Policy and Climate Action," providing the opportunity for students to come to a learn about environmentalism and sustainability.

About 100 students attended — mostly from BBA with a handful from Long Trail School in Dorset.

After attending the summits throughout her high school career, she was the assistant leader a year ago and lead this year's event and she thinks it was a big success. "I think it really went well," Lalor said. "I'm really proud of everyone who has helped me and my teacher, Jillian Joyce, has helped me a lot with planning and she's been a good mentor. So I really have to give credit to her for helping me do what I've been doing."

She said the planning has been a year-long effort. "I kind of started reaching out to presenters last semester," Lalor said. "So I've been kind of working on it all year. But it really started picking up — all the planning — this semester. It's just been a big process."

The event featured workshops and a keynote address by a specialist in climate change, development and human rights.

Edward Cameron holds a PhD in social sciences, business and economics. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has worked on five continents. In addition to helping to write the Paris Agreement on climate change, Cameron has worked with the European Union, The World Bank, The World Resources Institute and Business for Social Responsibility. Today, he "designs climate strategies for companies and works with governments around the globe to shope public policies that drive the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and inclusive world," according to a news release for the BBA summit. Today, Cameron makes his home in Manchester.

After the workshops, about a half dozen low, or no, emission vehicles were gathered at the front of The Mountain Campus building where students could sit in them, learn more about how they worked. While there was a Kia Soul hybrid, a couple of Toyota Prius, and a Chevy Volt, the stars were a pair of Tesla Model 3s.
One of those Teslas belonged to BBA Head of School Mark Tashjian, who said he bought the vehicle in November. With the T on the hood and trunk replaced with Bulldogs emblems and his "Go Dogs" license plate, Tashjian's Tesla won't be hard to pick out in a crowd.

As students inspected the cars, Tashjian showed off some of its features and explained why he chose to go with an all-electric vehicle over a hybrid. He said the Tesla gets more than 300 miles to a charge in warmer weather, but that drops to about 200 or so miles in cold weather, Tashjian said. He said the savings on gasoline is huge, pointing out that in October before he bought his Tesla, he bought 11 tanks of gas for his old car. "I haven't bought gas since," Tashjian said. "Rather than just talk about the environment, I thought I should be willing to invest my money."

Parked right next to the Tashjian's Tesla was a Chevy Volt owned by Rich Thompson-Tucker, associate director of advancement at BBA. Thompson-Tucker said the vehicle is an electric-gas hybrid that is designed to use the battery power first, and then switch over to the gasoline engine when necessary. Chevy's newest entry will go about 65 miles on a charge, before the 10-gallon gas tank kicks in.

Thompson-Tucker said that removes the concern about not having the range to get somewhere and back, or the need to find a charging station. It can be plugged in to a standard wall socket at home and charged over night to be ready to go again in the morning. With a total range of over 400 miles, the Volt is a not a vehicle that has to be left home for long trips. And while the Tesla never needs an oil change or coolent flush because it doesn't have an internal combustion engine to lubricate or cool, the Volt does. However, Thompson-Tucker has had to use the gasoline engine so little, he said one oil change a year covers it for him.

Contact Darren Marcy at or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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