merit academy

VIDEO: Pascal Costa's TEDxMeritAcademy Talk

In August, Merit Academy hosted TEDxMeritAcademy at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.

Pascal Costa was a featured speaker, and her TEDx Talk is embedded below.

How to stop overpopulation before we reach 10 billion people on Earth

Overpopulation is a huge problem. We have too many people, and because of our immense growth experienced in the last century, we are experiencing new problems. Because of overpopulation, we have recklessly produced dirty energy and destroyed fertile land to meet the needs of our ever-expanding population. Forests have been decimated in order to make room for farmland and to produce lumber. We have exploited natural resources such as soil, water minerals, oil, and coal because we have grown dependent on them. As a result of our growing numbers and exploitation of natural resources, we have caused the extinction of 130 mammal species, and have endangered 250 species. Today, about 1000 species are now threatened. Through overpopulation, we have increased pollution, consumption, and the deterioration of land. There’s a simple way to reduce the world’s population and I’ll share my idea with you.

About Pascal: Pascal Costa founded Preventing OverPopulation, a non-profit organization that educates child-bearing people about how their decisions to have children directly affect the world. She has presented her project at the Earth Day Santa Cruz festival and she was interviewed on Earth Watch Radio. Pascal recently graduated from high school and plans to continue to advocate for population control in college.

Check out ProjectMERIT Interviews on PlanetWatch (KSCO)

What fun it was for Logan and Pascal to share their projects on KSCO’s Planet Watch Show!

Joe Jordan and Rachel Goodman, the co-hosts of this progressive show that features exciting cutting-edge science and technology that can protect, and possibly save civilization and the planet, interviewed the students for over 30 minutes yesterday.

Both students have founded their own organizations that give individual people incentive to do their part to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere (Logan) and reduce our population on earth (Pascal).

Listen to an archive of the show here, or click here and then click the March 26, 2017 episode's "download" link to either download or play the file (different browsers will behave in different ways).

Please go to Logan’s website: to pledge to reduce driving.

Please go to Pascal’s website: to pledge to have no more than 2 children!

They make it easy for you to do your part!

Tribute to Chuck Berry; Merit style! Part Two

We had so much fun doing the first Rock ‘n Roll Revue that we did a more comprehensive production the following summer.  Naturally we covered Chuck Berry again – and this time we did “Johnny B. Goode" in our production of It’s Gotta Be Rock ‘n Roll Music: 1955-1975.

Our 8th and 4th graders gave speeches about the history of rock ‘n roll and how Chuck Berry influenced just about every musician who followed him in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. These students created a business called Merit Oldies Entertainment where they performed 30-minute and 60-minute musical performances all over the San Francisco Bay Area. 

They even opened the Frankie Valli Concert in Monterey!


I first saw the potential of aquaponics when I was at Disneyworld/Epcot on Living with Aquaponics ride (check out this YouTube video). They had a tomato TREE that grew year round and produced 100s of big beautiful tomatoes. That year, we built a greenhouse for our mini-aquaponics system that included 2 fish tanks, 1 filter tank, and 4 media (rock) beds for veggies.  This unique growing system uses NO DIRT, just water to raise fish and grow plants. The fish poop creates a natural fertilizer for the plants, which in turn, cleans the water for the fish.  It’s really remarkable that you don’t need any fertilizers or chemicals at all!

This year, Merit Academy’s aquaponics class added a floating raft bed to the aquaponics system.  Instead of plants growing in rocks and water (media beds), these plants grow in Styrofoam beds that float on top of the water.  We’re excited to compare the media beds to the floating raft beds to see which systems produce more veggies. Teaching students innovative food production techniques inspires them to solve world hunger and sustainability problems that we face today and in the future.

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