Like Most Teenagers, Taylor Anne Lach is Full of Energy. However, the 13-year-old student from Orland Park, Illinois, U.S., recently became interested in another type of energy — the renewable kind. When Taylor's science teacher informed the class she had enrolled them in Google's “Doodle 4 Google” contest — a competition that invites all U.S. K-12 students to design a Google logo inspired by the phrase “What I Wish for the World” — the St. Michael School 7th grader immediately opened the sketch pad she always carries with her and set to work.
“My Google doodle and wish for the world is called Alternate Energy Powered Earth,” she said. “I chose this idea because it is very practical and, if everyone helps out, we can make it a reality.”
Taylor's logo design comprises hydropower in the form of waves crashing over the G, a high-efficiency light bulb in the shape of the first O, the universal recycle symbol represents the second O, low-loss composite conductor in the shape of the G, a wind turbine attached to the top of the L, and a solar panel incorporated into the top of the E that is powered by the rising sun in the background.
According to Taylor, her awareness of renewable power came about when her school began selling compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, and a teacher mentioned they were better for the environment than incandescent lamps.
“I am really concerned about global warming,” she said. “I believe it is responsible for the melting polar caps in Canada, so I started researching other ways to help the environment,” she said. “I think developing the use of alternative energies will decrease greenhouse gases that are harming the ozone layer, resulting in global warming. This is something that will eventually affect all of us if we don't start doing something now.”
Although she is just 13, Taylor not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk when it comes to being environmentally responsible. This includes having her mom and dad, Dianne and Steve, replace all of the Lach home's light bulbs with energy-saving CFLs, making a conscious effort to turn off lights when she leaves a room and encouraging the entire family, which includes sister Sydney and brother Max, to recycle whenever possible.
“I also get after my friends and classmates to recycle,” she said. “I hate it when someone is too lazy to walk across the school lunchroom to put something in the recycle bin and just throws it in the garbage. I think a lot of kids my age don't believe they can have a positive impact on the environment, but that's not true. Almost anyone can recycle, turn off lights and electronics, and ask their parents to buy CFLs.”
As part of her ongoing effort to become more environmentally and socially aware, Taylor made the decision to become a vegetarian in November 2007 after watching an episode of “How It's Made” on The Discovery Channel.
“The program showed how chickens are raised and then ‘processed’ for market,” she recalled. “I haven't eaten meat since. My family has been really supportive of my choice, although my mom sometimes gets annoyed when she has to make me something different to eat from the rest of the family.”
Taylor's passion for animals is evident to all who know her. In addition to a long-haired Chihuahua named Dennis and a guinea pig named Penni, her bedroom is painted to resemble a jungle.
“If it were up to her, Taylor would have a hundred pets of her own,” teased Steve, who not coincidentally works for Transmission & Distribution World. “Because of her extreme love for animals, the environment and her laid-back artistic nature, our family has labeled her a tree hugger.”
When she isn't trying to save the world, the honor roll student competes on the St. Michael's volleyball and basketball teams. She also is involved in the school's pom-pom squad, band (she plays the drums and trombone), and drama and talent show presentations.
“My favorite subjects are science and art,” she said. “I also like math, because I think it is an important subject to know.”
Outside of school, Taylor holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, plays for an Orland Youth Association Softball team, is a junior girl scout and is a member of the Trinity Christian College Opening Nights Arts Group. In addition, she enjoys reading, going to the movies and creating computer-generated graphics arts. Like most girls her age, she also spends as much time as possible hanging out with friends.
When it comes to future plans, Taylor says she would consider a career in electrical engineering. She would also like to do “something with animals.”
In the meantime, the budding environmentalist eagerly awaits word on her Google doodle entry. The winning student's doodle will be displayed on the Google home page on May 21, 2009. In addition, the champion “doodler” will receive a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his/her school.