Lunch break convinced Talia Rodwin that her fifth-grade classmates were as serious as she was about Cold Spring Elementary’s Model United Nations Energy Summit.
“Everybody is shouting, ‘Global warming, come over here,’ or ‘People who want 402 to be tabled, come over here,’” Talia said.
Cold Spring’s summit was an all-day affair, with 66 students participating on Wednesday, May 24. Fifth-graders had delegate positions, who communicated with one another through pages (they’re the fourth-graders). “This is the one time you’re allowed to pass notes in class,” Talia said.
Students discuss the environmental issues as part of their fifth-grade science curriculum, said Mary Darling, a teacher at Cold Spring. Several months ago, each student chose a country to represent, and began researching her country’s major environmental issues. Talia and her friend Emily Schaefer chose Japan. “They have pollution problems,” Talia said. “I didn’t know it was so severe. … They have all this smog in the air, probably because they have so many cars.”
All the students’ research leads to the multidisciplinary endeavor that is the summit. Student delegates hone their debating skills and draw up resolutions on nuclear energy, bird flu and global warming, among other issues.
Except for the pitch of the delegates’ voices, Cold Spring’s summit could have almost passed for the real thing. “Point of order!” shouted New Zealand representative Jenny Barnhard. “$32,000 is nothing.”
“You’re out of order,” said co-Secretary General William Yu, as he moved proceedings on to a vote.