Star Talks present the case for “Green-Building”

Claire Good, Staff Writer

On April 3rd,two guest speakers were invited to Liberty to present the case for “green” building. That is, Liberty students were given the opportunity to attend “Star Talks” to learn about how modern facilities can be built to minimize environmental impact and employ the most eco-friendly technology possible. The two guests were Stacey Shmedley, the founder and executive director of the Seed program, and James Howeth, a project architect working on the Liberty remodel. Four of Liberty’s sustainability ambassadors—Lorrin Johnson, Alex Chapman, James Ricks and Andrew Cooper— also participated in the event, where their goal was to “Empower youth to catalyze community sustainability.”

The idea for these presentations came from Principal Josh Almy, who recognized the increasing importance of sustainability and was inspired by the efficient format of the widely popular Ted Talks. “This is really one of the first times that a high school has tried to do this,” Almy said. The Star Talks were therefore attended by a film crew from Pacific Lutheran University, and will be televised.

Architect James Howeth elaborated on some of the modern, eco-friendly elements of Liberty’s remodel, such as a rain garden between the classrooms that will help recharge groundwater and reduce erosion, and pervious pavements to reduce storm water runoff. “By helping our site improve water detention and sediment control, it helps everyone in the region have cleaner water and helps reduce future flooding.” Howeth said.

Guest speaker Stacey Shmedley spoke about how she became inspired to make a career out of sustainable building. Shmedley founded the Seed program, which creates customized classroom portables that prioritize the health of the student and the environment simultaneously, constituting a vast improvement over traditional school buildings and portables.

“My hope is that someday, there will be Seed classrooms sprouting all over the country,” Shmedley said. “And every single kid in this country is saying, ‘Why aren’t all buildings living?’”