Relight and Save

Change a lightbulb, change the world, says young environmentalist.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Can you could help save the planet by changing a light bulb? Avery Hairston says you can and he founded an organization called RelightNY to get the word out. Hairston’s goal is to get more people to convert their incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs (CFL).

CFL bulbs are energy and cost efficient light bulbs that last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent light bulbs. CFL bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.

RelightNY began about two years ago when Hairston was a freshman at Collegiate School in New York, New York. He teamed up with 10 of his classmates to educate the public about the benefits of CFL bulbs.

The idea to start an environmental organization came after Hairston attended a global warming presentation given by Nobel Prize winner and former Vice -President Al Gore. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to be involved in saving the planet, he told Scholastic News.

The actual idea for RelightNY came from a Starbuck’s advertisement he saw promoting CFL bulbs.

RelightNY is a charitable organization that receives monetary donations from companies and individuals to purchase CFL bulbs at a discounted rate. They distribute the bulbs to low income housing projects through out New York City.

Due to the overwhelming success of RelightNY, Hairston and his team are expanding the project to the rest of the United States. The launch of RelightUS is currently in the preliminary phase.

“As with RelightNY, the main goal for RelightUS is to show people that collectively, the small but tangible action of changing light bulbs can help protect the environment for future generations,” Hairston said.

Education is key for RelightUS. The team provides accessible information for educators on their Web site relightus.com.

“The tools on the site include school curriculum and a brochure to provide teachers with learning tools for grades K-12,” Hairston said. “There is also information on the site to help young people teach others about the importance of making the switch.”

On the Web site, you can adopt and convert your own home, or form a team to help adopt other homes in the neighborhood. The site tracks how far the program has spread.

“The mapping technology on the RelightUS site works internationally, too,” Hairston said. “So if someone from anywhere in the world wants to switch out bulbs in their home, they can show it on our map.”

Maybe the next step for RelightUS is RelightWorld…and then maybe RelightUniverse?

EARTH DAY @ 40

Celebrate 40 years of Earth Day and the fight to keep our planet clean on April 22. Scholastic Kid Reporters explore ways to make every day Earth Day in the Earth Day @ 40 Special Report.

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    Environmental Conservation and Preservation, Social Perspectives on Science
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