New challenge to schools: change your footprint
Zerofootprint is challenging schools around the world to measure, compare and change their environmental footprint.
The Challenge is designed to help a school benchmark and better understand how big its carbon footprint is, how it compares to other schools and how much carbon is produced for each student it educates.
The Zerofootprint Challenge will work collaboratively with school districts to provide students with easy-to-use software and social networking tools to measure carbon footprint information, provoke competition and discover a new culture of energy use. “Measurement and benchmarking are critical to any endeavor that seeks to create meaningful change,” said Dr. Ron Dembo, founder and CEO of Zerofootprint. “Our goal is to make it easy, fun and meaningful for kids to tackle climate change and discover new ways to reduce their energy consumption. What is unique is our use of clear metrics for all phases of the program.”
According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings represent 40% of the world’s environmental footprint. By targeting reduction efforts at schools, students around the world can take climate change into their own hands and make a real and meaningful difference to the global environmental footprint.
“As governments take action to make meaningful reductions in carbon emissions under their jurisdiction, they will naturally look to all public buildings for participation, including schools,” said Jill Buck, founder of Go Green Initiative. “What I appreciate most about the Zerofootprint Challenge is that it brings sophisticated carbon measurement software tools within easy grasp of any school. Any school can benefit from this program, and I hope every school will.”
When a school joins the Zerofootprint Challenge, it gains access to an easy-to-use online application that helps determine its current footprint and enables direct comparisons with other schools. In an active online forum, students can view results and share experiences on their progress. Teachers are provided with links to curriculum-based lesson plans and activities provided by Zerofootprint partners – organizations that are highly active in education for sustainable development.
Rick Hay, a teacher at Maurice Cody Public School in Toronto, has already committed to reducing his school’s footprint. “I’m excited about working with my school’s EcoTeam this year to reduce our carbon footprint. The Zerofootprint Challenge program, with its kid-friendly graphs and comparison charts, will help motivate us to reach a carbon impact goal of 120 kg per student, down from 155 kg.”
“Green Teams” organized by a teacher or principal at each school, will take charge of the Challenge by measuring their footprint via (the past year’s) heating, electricity and water bills. Once students set the baseline for last year’s emissions, the school challenges another school to join the competition in a “Race to Reduce.”
“The Zerofootprint Challenge will help schools on their path to EcoSchool’s platinum level certification by engaging students in a collective effort to reduce their environmental impact,” said Richard Christie, program coordinator of EcoSchools Toronto and early adopter of the Zerofootprint Challenge.
For tips and tricks to reduce your footprint, Zerofootprint has partnered with sponsors, including TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and partners, including Eco Schools Toronto, Eco Schools USA, Go Green Initiative, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, The Climate Project Canada, EarthCARE and the Climate Change Connection, where students can access resources and research methods to reduce their impact.
Zerofootprint Challenge on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zerochallenge
For more information, or to sign up for Zerofootprint Challenge, please visit: www.zerofootprintfoundation.org
About the Zerofootprint Foundation
The Zerofootprint Challenge is spearheaded by the Zerofootprint Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to apply technology, design and risk management to the massive reduction of our global environmental impact.