Holly Thorpe, a middle school student at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has pushed the school district to shift from diesel-fueled buses to electric buses. The district arrived at the decision to convert after Thorpe made insightful points on electric vehicles through her science fair presentation. Thorpe’s research revealed that carbon dioxide fumes inside the buses were 10 times more than the levels recommended by the EPA.

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The school plans to bring in the electric buses in 2021, a year after Thorpe shared her findings. According to the school district, it will be applying for a federal grant from the $2.8 billion settlement fund as a result of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The district will then use the fund to acquire new buses.

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“Students know they will be faced with the dire consequences of climate change and they are the ones motivating the district to feel a sense of urgency and care about becoming the greenest, cleanest, most innovative, and most equitable school system it can be,” Michele Drucker, environmental chair of the Miami-Dade County PTSA Council and sustainability chair of the MAST Academy PTSA, told Miami Herald. “There is money available to cover initial capital costs. District administrators just need to change their mindset and accept the technology.”

According to 11th-grader Thomas Brulay, students have to hold their breaths on diesel buses.

“On a normal school bus you have to hold your breath, it’s dirty, loud, uncomfortable — nobody wants to ride the bus,” Brulay said. 

The school district now hopes to bring in the new buses and improve the overall experience and health of the students and bus drivers. According to Richard Lee, director of U.S. bus sales for bus manufacturer Lion Electric, electric buses have many benefits.

“For the driver, it’s an improved experience not only in operating the bus but in monitoring the passengers because you can hear them, it’s less chaotic,” Lee said. “Climate change is here and we’ve got to fix it. Will I see the day when everything is 100 percent electric? No, but my grandchildren’s future depends on it.”

Via Clean Technica

Image via Lion Electric