The Sun Run and Climate Expo

Maya Barany, Writer

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On October fifth, two weeks after the global climate protest, the fifth annual Sun Run returned to raise money and awareness for solar energy in Helena. This run was dedicated to raising money for solar panels at Bryant Elementary school.  In the US, school districts spend six billion dollars on energy every year, making it the second biggest expense for schools. Raising money for solar panels for Bryant school could help save 292.7 tons of atmospheric carbon a year, according to British data from the Sustainable Development Commission and the average carbon output of schools.

Superintendent of the Helena School District, Tyler Ream, attended the sun run,  “I think we’ve exceeded our goals here for this event… This race funds Bryant (school), these new schools are built to easily incorporate that technology.”

The expo started with sponsors and local organizers tables presenting information about the event, solar energy, recycling, and agricultural factors of climate change. The organizer and chair of the Sleeping Giant’s Citizen Council, Joel Harris said, “We want Helena to be a beacon of clean energy, we’ve completed projects at the library, Carroll College, and the Holter… This is the fifth annual sun run, we’re starting to dot the city with solar panels.”

While race runners, volunteers, and attendees sat in the new central school cafeteria, Helena mayor and senate candidate Wilmont Collins made a speech pledging his support for clean solar energy and the Clean Power Plan, pledging 100% clean energy by 2030.

After the presentation, Mayor Collins said ”When I got invited to participate in this event, I was overjoyed to let the community know i’m with the community, with the crowd I see here today I know we’re heading in the right direction with renewable energy. I encourage everyone, even the young ones, younger than teenagers, I encourage them to get involved in their community to challenge the older people to leave a beautiful place. I encourage each and every one of you, elementary, high school, college to know what the community needs and protect it. This is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and if we can’t protect it, what are we doing?”

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