Dear Barbara Edmonson,

My name is Jessica Knowles. I am in year 12 at Kāpiti College and I am a representative of The Eco-Action Group and have been for the last three years. 

I am writing to you to express my view that gas and diesel heated schools need government funding to transition to electric, as well as the coal-fired boilers announcement last week. 

The effects of fossil fuels are harmful to the environment and people, as it releases carbon dioxide into the air, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. This is causing global warming and the world already increased an average of 1 degree higher from the first nine months of 2015. Another thing with fossil fuels is that the ocean is greatly impacted as one-quarter of the ocean is being affected by warming oceans, including acidification leading to bleached coral reefs and thin shells.  Also, Global warming is getting worse by the year. Another point is about gas drilling and burning, as when this is going on they are burning natural gas also this releases a gas called methane. This is a strong greenhouse gas that leaks into the atmosphere in big amounts. Burning natural gas also causes carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. 

In other words, we need to reduce the fossil fuel footprint to save our planet and make it healthy again. To reduce fossil fuel we need to turn off our computers, TVs, video games and other electronics when we’re not using them; also when purchasing electrical equipment such as lights, air conditioners, heaters and refrigerators to make sure that they are using less energy. What we should be doing is buying electrical devices that use less electricity. As for businesses and companies, things they could do is use renewable energy as it does not pollute the air. This is because wind and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. Total air emissions are generally much lower than coal and natural gas-fired power plants, so we think the whole State sector needs to be powered by renewable, sustainable energy sources.

On the brighter side of things, It is great news to hear that the government is going to support schools heated by coal-fired boilers to transition to greener energy sources by 2025.

In conclusion, we as Kāpiti College students in the Eco-Action Group would appreciate it if you would be able to help lobby for an increase in the Budget so that gas- and diesel-powered schools around Aotearoa can be funded to change to cleaner and cheaper options to heat the schools. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jessica Knowles