Ceiling Tiles Aim to Raise Awareness About Climate

As Seas Rise, CRLS Climate Change Activists Take Warnings to New Heights


Lucy Messineo-Witt

The ceiling tiles, a part of the “Love Your Planet” project, involved 46 students.

Uma Edulbehram, Contributing Writer

Throughout the afternoon on Tuesday, February 12th, a handful of CRLS students and staff worked tirelessly to implement the final steps of a project that had been brewing for months. While walking through the hallway, ceiling tiles are almost always easily ignored. However, as students and staff trickled into school one morning, they noticed that over 50 ceiling tiles throughout the school had been swapped for new tiles emblazoned with colorful messages concerning climate change and the grim future of our environment.

Since December, a group of around 46 students has been working on the project, dubbed “Love Your Planet.” The project is headed by Paul McGuinness, a science teacher at CRLS. The group was gathered through word of mouth and included students from all grades across the school. The logo design of a heart-shaped Earth played on the fact that the installment was the same week as Valentine’s Day, as well as the motto of the initiative. The tiles pictured a wide array of different facts and images, all aimed at conveying the urgency for action on climate change. Topics ranged from the shrinking bumblebee population to melting glaciers. The overarching message was clear: our planet is dying, and the time for us to act is running out.

Mr. McGuinness was inspired to take on the initiative when he noticed the abundance of white industrial surfaces throughout the school. The ceiling tiles “offer our amazing students opportunities to express themselves and make their work and interests public,” he explained. Ceiling tiles proved favorable, as they can be easily removed and swapped for the proposed “guerilla art installation project.”

According to him, the purpose of the project was to raise awareness about the biggest issue facing the current generation, as well as to “get the school invested in the climate change initiative that an interdisciplinary group of faculty are working on for the whole school next year.” Mr. McGuinness hopes that the project will trigger larger groups of people within the CRLS community to be aware, involve themselves, and take leadership in addressing the environmental issues in our community and world. Climate change is a crisis that stretches through all species, and a project like this works to include and educate the community about an important issue in an avant-garde manner.

The result was successful. The student response was “amazing,” and according to Mr. McGuinness, many students inquired how they could get further involved after the installation. The overall response from administration was surprised, yet positive, the main concerns being reasonable safety issues. Administrators generally applauded the unique leadership platform the project gave students to step into activist positions.

The tiles will most likely remain up until the end of April and are located in the central hallways of the first, second, and third floors, as well as hallways around the Bagel Benches and library.


This piece also appears in our March 2019 print edition.