Carrot & Stick: May/June 2009

Adam Raudonis, a junior at Westlake High School in Southern California, for spearheading the green group Students for Solar Schools
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Adam Raudonis, a junior at Westlake High School in Southern California, for spearheading the green group Students for Solar Schools. Launched in November as an effort to lower Westlake's carbon footprint by installing energy-saving solar panels, SSS has quickly turned into an international movement: Raudonis has received e-mails from kids as far away as Australia and Puerto Rico who are looking to green their schools. Meanwhile, three more U.S. chapters have petitioned their school administrations to support solar panel installation.

Earlier this year, Raudonis created an SSS Web site and began negotiating with a local solar company to get the panels up at Westlake High School by this summer. If that's heavy lifting for a 17-year old—who's been recognized as a Climate Champion by the British Council and the California Air Resources Board in 2008—Raudonis doesn't show it.
"I feel it's my role and my peers' role to do this," he says. "Climate change is our problem too, and it's going to be up to us to solve it."

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Ag-Mart Produce, grower and producer of Santa Sweets grape tomatoes and UglyRipe heirloom tomatoes, for flagrant pesticide violations on its farms in Florida, North Carolina, and New Jersey.

The North Carolina Pesticide Board levied a fine against Ag-Mart in March; Florida's Department of Agriculture fined it in 2005. Ag-Mart, which supplies supermarket and box store chains including Safeway and Costco, has flouted regulations by, for example, harvesting crops within days after treatment with pesticides— in violation of mandatory waiting periods ensuring that consumers aren't exposed to harmful residues.

In January, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection slapped an unprecedented $931,250 fine on the company. Abuses date back to 2005 and include sabotaging inspections and losing track of 2.5 gallons of Monitor, a toxic insecticide. Calling out Ag-Mart for its "stunning disregard" of workers, consumers, and the environment, NJDEP Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said, "We have imposed a record-high penalty not only to hold Ag-Mart accountable for their failure, but to make sure it doesn't happen again."