Modeling climate change

July 6, 2021

Today’s students need to be well-versed and prepared to be good stewards for the planet.

At Cheshire Academy, that passion for sustainability and understanding of climate change starts in the Modeling Climate Change course, taught by math teacher Thomas Marshall. Students in the class explore how economic models and projections are affected by climate trends, the business of sustainability energy, and much more.

At the conclusion of the spring 2021 semester, students wrapped up the course with a final project requiring them to demonstrate what they learned in the class by applying it in their research of a problem in need of a solution.

Aishlinn Parrinello ’23, for example, researched the benefits of regenerative agriculture. In her presentation, she reflected on the problems presented by conventional farming, such as the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, as well as chemical runoff and its contribution to climate change. Regenerative agriculture, she argued, is used in crop residue mulching, composting, and crop rotating, and does not require chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. The practice can also help to cut back on carbon emissions and potentially reverse the effects of climate change.

Other benefits of regenerative agriculture include the production of nutrient dense foods, an increase in biodiversity, flood and drought resistance, prevention of chemical runoff, and improving farm profitability, according to Parrinello.

Fanzhe Meng ’21 proposed that scientists research ways to recycle semiconductors to reduce the long-term environmental pollution and production line shortage of semiconductor production. With the current shortage of semiconductors, the smart vehicle, smartphone, electrical appliance, computer, telecommunication, and video game industries have suffered, he wrote. In his submission, Meng suggested recycling old semiconductors to reduce pollution, among other proposals.

Rina Wu ’23 focused her research on global climate change. When countries were forced to restrict travel and businesses began closing due to COVID-19, the amount of air pollution emitted was reduced, Wu explained. With many countries now reopened to travel and business, Wu is urging global leaders to find solutions that will reduce the impact of CO2 and the return of frequent travel.