Student Takes Earth Hour Beyond the Hour

By Ginger Zee
|  Friday, Mar 25, 2011  |  Updated 12:16 AM CDT
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When <a title=Chicago turns out the lights for Earth Hour, one student's mission will be just getting started." />

When Chicago turns out the lights for Earth Hour, one student's mission will be just getting started.

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David Rangel was only 15 years old when he first helped the city shut down during earth hour 2009.

For the past two years, Earth Hour, and the Earth in general, have become a personal passion for the Rowe Clark Math and Science Academy junior.

Fresh off a summer spent at Stanford University focusing on international relationships and sustainability, Rangel is leading his classmates and environmental groups to victory heading into Earth Hour 2011.

Earth Hour is a worldwide initiative that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and appliances for one hour to raise awareness of climate change.

Among its environmental feats, Rowe Clark has a killer recycling program, solar panels above the school sign, and uses recycled books.

This year, Rangel wants students to go beyond just treating the Earth right and educating them as to why it is important.

"I think there are so many times that as kids we just do something but then don’t ask, 'Why am I doing this?'  I think we need to educate students here and across the country so we can make our planet better," he explained.

ComEd spokesperson Krissy Posey agrees, and said the theme of this year’s Earth Hour is fitting for a young man like Rangel.

"The theme for Earth Hour is 'Go beyond the hour.'  So in addition to turning off lights for one hour, we want customers to find ways to conserve energy throughout the year, not just during Earth Hour. This could be recycling, biking to work, anything that goes beyond the hour," said Posey.

Rangel is waiting for a reply from Excelon to see if he has received a summer internship in the sustainability department.

What’s after high school for the accomplished student?

"I want to attend the University of Chicago and study political science. I want to pressure politics since it seems like they don’t care about the environment, but our generation obviously does," he said. 

"It’s really something we need to be aware of because it affects all of us and I really want to do this for my generation and I want to get involved and I want others to get involved."

Earth Hour begins at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.

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