Energy independence promotes both the environment and national security, according to officials of AJC Westchester, which sponsored its fourth annual Energy Independence Event last month. Titled “Pursuing the American Dream: Doing Well by Doing Good,” it featured a panel discussion by energy professionals and was designed to introduce students to potential career paths as well as current issues.
“Our primary concern is that the nation’s dependence on oil is detrimental to our security and distorts our foreign policy,” explained Scott Richman, director of AJC Westchester. “It forces us to compromise our national interest and have relations with rogue states.”
Edan Dionne, director of corporate environmental affairs at IBM, noted that “environmental management and energy management are very good for business. In the last 25 years, we have saved over $420 million. Young people want to be environmentally conscious. Clients want to be associated with an environmentally conscious company.”
The other panelists were Mike Gordon of Joule Assets, which helps people understand and use Energy Reduction Assets, and David Horowitz, a senior vice president at Tishman Construction.
Dr. Danny Aviv, a science teacher at the Solomon Schechter of Westchester Upper School campus in Hartsdale, served as moderator.
The program was held at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, whose headmaster, Dr. Elliot Spiegel, explained that “one of our core values is the fulfillment of social action, how we prepare ourselves to be responsible citizens and to preserve the planet.”
Schechter’s upper school has solar panels on its roof, a greenhouse, and garden, and uses only recycled plastic and paper products—no Styrofoam — as part of their efforts to be environmentally aware and communicate that value to students.
The event also honored the JPMorgan Chase and Co. for its Platinum LEED corporate hangar at the Westchester Country airport. The company has 25 percent of its electricity there generated by rooftop solar panels, and used materials that were sourced within 500 miles of the hangar as part of its environmentally sustainable impact.
Schechter freshman Gabriel Siegel, who’s enrolled in the school’s Sci-Tech program, offered information about the renewable energy field as a possible profession that would “work towards changing the world.”