Ontario recycling initiative issues school challenge

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Average fourth-graders generate their weight in lunch room garbage annually, according to the Recycling Council of Ontario.

Bringing that number down is one of the environmental issues the province’s Back to School challenge is asking students to tackle this school year.

The initiative, championed by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, is a set of 10 eco-friendly ideas that students and parents can follow to reduce their eco-footprints.

Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA)

The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people across the U.S. for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. Up to two awards – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12—will be selected from each of EPA’s 10 regions for national recognition. Projects are developed by young individuals, school groups, summer camps, and other youth organizations to promote environmental stewardship.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE)

This award recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning.   Award winners receive up to $2,500 to continue their professional development in environmental education. Additionally, the teacher’s local education agency will receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. Read about projects by previous winners at https://www.epa.gov/education/presidential-innovation-award-environmental-educators-piaee-winners.

Wege Prize 2017 Student Design Competition

Wege Prize is an annual, transdisciplinary design competition challenging teams of five college or university students from around the world to develop a product, service or business/non-profit organization that can help transition our current linear economic model to a circular economic model, a tightly-looped, restorative economic cycle in which resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the flow of revenue. Teams will contend for $30,000 in total cash prizes. The deadline for team registration is Nov. 30.

Farm to cafeteria table: The new local food frontier

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The next time someone points to the need for more farmers’ markets as a way to help move local food from a trend to a substantive cultural shift, you might consider telling them about the power of institutional purchasing. It may sound less interesting and, on the surface, it certainly is. (Who doesn’t love buying purple carrots to the sound of a didgeridoo?) But bear with us.

Toward Carbon-Neutral, Equitable Conferences

Read the full post at ProfHacker.

Following up on one aspect of Maha’s post yesterday on “fostering permeability in academia”, I wanted to point to “A Nearly Carbon-Neutral Conference Model: White Paper/Practical Guide,” published by the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Teaching Middle-Schoolers Climate Change Without Terrifying Them

Read the full story from NPR.

Vazquez’s students meet climate scientists in class and calculate how many desalination plants it would take to turn rising seas into a sustainable source of fresh water (too many).

There’s the work they’ve done on the school itself. On a walk around campus, Vazquez points out improvements her students instigated over the years or installed themselves: smart thermostats, energy-efficient light bulbs, and reflective white paint on the roof to keep the building cooler.

Finally, there are students like Penny Richards. She says after a year in Vazquez’s class, she reads climate news while she rides the bus to school.

In class, Bertha Vazquez says she tries to balance the fear that comes with taking climate science seriously, and measured optimism. She draws on examples of past environmental successes — like how the ozone layer is on the mend — to show what collective action can accomplish.