Just like that, it is back to school time again. For all of us at Global Green, this means continuing our work to green schools in California, New Orleans, and beyond. With recent projects, we have been especially inspired by student leaders working to green their schools, including winners from our Citizen Entrepreneur Contest to honor local green heroes. From the days we started to review the submissions to the contest, we were excited to see students in the running -- and we were impressed enough with their efforts to award them funds to keep up the good work. We honored three high school students: Pierre, an aquaponic farmer who grows fresh and healthy greens for his school's cafeteria and is working with classmates on educating them and helping them develop a program on campus; Mahuya, an Alliance for Climate Education Youth Representative working to green her campus with a more efficient recycling program and on replacing the wasteful styrofoam trays in the cafeteria; and Askansha, who took it upon herself to clean the Elkhorn River of toxins from toxic fertilizers and is working on an educational film about the work.
As the new school year kicks into gear, we are also excited to be planning our second Green School Makeover Competition (stay tuned to for news about the launch!). This spring, we saw the green upgrades unveiled at the winning school from our first competition, the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) and the school is already saving energy, reducing water, paper and plastic waste with the changes.
While working with TSD on the green upgrades this past year, we met one of their student leaders, Conner Miers, and invited him to attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit as part of the student delegation representing Green Cross International and Global Green USA. Joining Conner was Pierre and a few other students working on school and community greening efforts. While the conference did not produce the commitments to change we had hoped for, the enthusiasm expressed by the youth delegates was inspiring. It reminded us that fighting climate change and protecting our planet for future generations to enjoy a healthy planet will be more successful if we can engage the next generation -- now, while we can still affect change.
When he returned from the Earth Summit, Pierre he told us, "What surprised mewas the amount of people with concern and the lack of people with viable solutions." Right he is -- and encouraging students like him can only help us all with our plans to leave them with a brighter future.