Most students may not have noticed, but, as of this school year, ISB officially has two electric buses. This is the result of work put in by environmental service group Net Impact. Three students were involved in this “Green Routes” project: Terri L., who graduated; Hiro W., who is studying abroad this year; and Brian L. (11), who kindly agreed to be interviewed by the Break.
Why did you decide to take on this project?
Hiro W., Terri L., and I all had this one common idea, which was about ISB buses. Since we all lived downtown, we always used the bus, and we knew what was really going on with them. We believed that the buses were not used efficiently: many seats were empty, many were the wrong size, and there were too many buses. We wanted to solve these problems with our project.
Walk us through your process.
First we had to brainstorm—create goals and a mission. After that we did a lot of research and came up with a proposal that we sent to the bus office. We got feedback from them, reflected, and then made some changes.
Was doing this project difficult?
It was rather challenging since we had a lot of data to analyze and discuss, not only with our group members but with the bus office too. Originally we also wanted to re-route the buses. We had to deal with 60 school buses—there were so many factors to consider. However, we kept pushing ourselves to the limit and exploring other options.
Tell us about the Net Impact of your project.
Right now, we have gotten these two new electric buses.
Originally, however, our project was not just about electric buses—it was about bus sizes and bus routes. There is another proposal of ours under review. If redesigning bus sizes is approved by the school, we will reduce about 1600kg of carbon dioxide per year. (4:30 bus – 1000kg and 6:00 bus – 600kg). That net impact is equivalent to planting 80 trees per year since a single tree absorbs 20kg of CO2 per year.
How did seeing the new electric buses make you feel?
I was definitely proud of myself and my team members since we faced a lot of struggles. I was also proud of my school because we were participating in the movement of reducing air pollution. Even though we can’t hugely impact the world’s air quality, we are trying.
Will we get more electric buses?
The project is ongoing. We currently have two electric buses, one to River Garden and one to Wangfujing.
The ISB bus office is still working to change all the fuel-burning buses to electrically-charged ones. Even if ISB cannot or fails to change all the buses, I believe the fact that we at least tried to reduce air pollution is the most meaningful result of this project.
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