South Miami

Students cut their carbon emissions by 1.4 tons

Fourth-grade students from South Miami K-8 Center were the ones doing the teaching at Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

Mayor Philip Stoddard presented the students with awards from Citizens for a Better South Florida for their participation in a one-month project for greenhouse gas emission reduction. Eighty students in four classes competed against each other in the project, which resulted in a savings of 1,806 kilowatts of energy.

Students reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 1.41 tons and eliminated .45 tons of waste. The students, who brought energy-saving practices home to their families, saved 2.9 barrels of oil and 1,338 pounds of coal, which would be the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted after burning 140 gallons of gasoline.

Energy-saving practices included turning off light switches, turning off water faucets while brushing teeth, switching to energy-saving light bulbs, taking shorter showers and reducing the time spent watching television and playing video games.

“I’m impressed,” Stoddard said from the dais. “I’m a carbon-saving guy myself. I think they saved more carbon in a month than my family saved in three months. I want to learn whatever it is you are doing. It’s impressive … this is a great project and I hope you all keep doing this.”

Citizens for a Better South Florida planted more than 700 trees in 14 communities, while engaging more than 2,500 volunteers last year.

“The goals of this project were to address climate change,” said Coral Kelly, program director for Citizens for a Better South Florida.

The group focused on making changes by taking small steps, starting with the students, then fanning out to families and neighborhoods.

In other news, South Miami will open a new dog park.

“[Commissioner] Bob Welsh did almost all the work on that,” Stoddard said. “He had to drill into the rock to sink those fence posts.”

The grand opening for the park, 6380 SW 78th St., will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Welsh worked to install sod, fill dirt, and put up benches, dog toys, a tiki hut and a fence around the park.

“Not much more I can do except water the grass,” Welsh said from the dais.

“I would ask dog lovers to leave Fido at home because maybe 50 dogs in one park at one time might be chaotic. A grand opening of the dog park for dog lovers would be more orderly.”

The commission also approved a resolution for a second reading to endorse the Green Task Force’s letter regarding City Hall. The letter urged the city to establish goals for repairing or rebuilding City Hall and authorizing the city manager to take certain actions.

“We need one or the other [rebuild or renovation],” Stoddard said. “City Hall isn’t working very well for us at this point. It needs lots of work done every few years because of moisture problems upstairs and it’s not ADA accessible. It uses the land really badly. There isn’t a huge amount of space and it’s not energy efficient. It’s 50 years old and it’s showing.”