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Wolrd Environemnt Day 2008

Miami Country Day School

Miami, Florida (USA)

Miami Country Day SchoolStudents of Miami Country Day School create a solar cooker.Miami Country Day School students are cutting back on CO2 emissions by using recycled materials to design and construct life-saving solar cookers and by providing solar cookers to developing countries (see photo below from Haiti). They have been creating recipes, producing "infomercials", designing content for the Web, and preparing booklets to educate other students about the environmental benefits of solar cooking. Learn more about the solar cooker project.

There are over two billion people on earth who rely on wood, charcoal, or dung for cooking fuel. Throughout the continent of Africa annual wood consumption for cooking is 454 kilograms (1000 pounds) of wood per person. The combustion of this fuel released from these fires releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

If solar ovens are made available to these communities, a family of six using the oven 70% of the time would save 1.9 tons of wood per year. Each oven has a useful life of 20 years, so 38 tons of wood could be saved by each oven. This eliminates 70 tons of CO2 emissions! Imagine what a village of 100,000 refugees can save!

The larger oven, the Villager Oven can save 150 tons of wood each year, saving 276.32 tons of CO2 emissions each year!

Paul Robeson High School for Business and Technology

Brooklyn, New York (USA)

Paul Robeson High School students are sharing ideas in order to construct a fresh and innovative way of addressing a mutually agreed upon “problem” – global warming. They have been developing PSA announcements, PowerPoint presentations, an interactive video game and a poetic visual essay on DVD to deliver their message about the impact our “consumer lifestyle” is having on the environment. These educational materials will have a significant impact on educating students and raising social awareness globally about this important issue.

Before developing these materials, students at Paul Robeson High School conducted research on global warming across the curriculum -- in Social Studies, English, Mathematics, Science, Spanish and Business. This led them to discover that our massive consumption of meat and other products produced by industry release CO2 and methane emissions into the atmosphere at a rate that exceeds our globe’s capacity to absorb it, sending us into this global crisis. Who knew that eating typical American food such as the beloved hamburger could be so devastating to the environment? The students now feel that that they are better informed, socially aware citizens as a result of their research.

SMK Teloi Kanan School

Kuala Ketil, Kedah (Malaysia)

SMK StudentsStudents from SMK Teloi Kanan in Kuala Ketil have been spending school holidays planting mangrove seedlings and seeds to save one of the few remaining mangrove sites along the west coast of Malaysia. Mangroves help protect nearby coastal villages from storms and tsunami. They also provide an important habitat for crab, fish, and prawns which can become an source of income for local residents. Students help prepare nursery beds (see photo below) and transport seedlings to the planting site in the mangrove. It takes the students about 2 hours to plant 1,000 seedlings and 500 seeds.

SMK StudentsThe long-term plan is to develop the area into a bird sanctuary. These efforts are also part of the students' tree planting campaign which aims to plant thousands of trees each year. By the end of 2007, students had succeeded in planting 40,000 mangrove seedlings in different sites around Malaysia. This year, the SMK Teloi Kanan school is engaged in mobilising students throughout Malaysia to plant one million trees by the end of 2008 . The school is also supporting the 100 million tree campaign by 2017 with the help of ENO Finland. This tree planting campaign will no doubt contribute a great deal to reducing greenhouse gases.

Vincent Massey Collegiate

Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)

Over the past three years students at Vincent Massey Collegiate have raised more than $22,000 to install an Alternative Energy Array (AEA) composed of a small-scale wind turbine, solar cells, a green roof and a greenhouse. The wind turbine and solar cells will reduce the school's energy bills as well as demonstrate the viability of alternative energy. The green roof will serve to insulate the school as well as reduce heating bills and water run-off. Vegetables will be grown in the greenhouse which will be heated in the winter with energy generated by the wind turbine and solar cells. Vegetables from the greenhouse will be sold in the school’s cafeteria and any surplus will be used as compost in the greenhouse. The students working on this project have received much recognition for their efforts. They recently traveled to the prestigious 2008 Volvo Adventure held in Gothenburg, Sweden in May 2008 where they were awarded 4th place for their project.

Snowy River

Orbost, Victoria (Australia)

Students of Orbost Secondary College, and students of Orbost, Orbost North, Newmerella, St Joseph's and Marlo Primary Schools are participating in a government-funded riverbank rehabilitation program for the lower reaches of the iconic Snowy River.

The Snowy River was dammed in the 1970's as the final stage of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity Scheme. This scheme produces non-polluting hydroelectricity but also diverts water from the lower Snowy River to the Murray River for use in the irrigation of farms and for household use in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Only a small proportion of the water from the dam flows into the lower Snowy River. A combination of reduced flows and forest clearing for agriculture along the lower Snowy River has severely damaged the riverbank environments downstream. Climate models for eastern Australia predict an ongoing drying due to climate change. The dam-induced drying of the Snowy River serves as a good analogue for what the rest of eastern Australian rivers can expect if climate change continues unabated and cluster students are monitoring the conditions of the river to demonstrate this and raise the public awareness of this issue.

Students are also participating in and monitoring the progress towards riverbank rehabilitation that involves removing invader species of plants and progressively planting a suite of species that will grow into a temperate rainforest similar to the pre-settlement forest that was cleared for farming. This will not only sequester carbon as it grows but also provide large woody debris back into the river that is needed as fish habitat to enable restoration of fish stocks.

Conditions in the Snowy River serve as a stark reminder that even greenhouse friendly hydroelectric power production can have unintended environmental consequences that need to be carefully evaluated and Snowy River Cluster students are working to ensure the entire community is aware of these issues.

Learn more about the riverbank rehabilitation project along Snowy River.

OF2 : Our Footprints, Our Future


Zerofootprint Screenshot"OF2 : Our Footprints, Our Future!" is an international initiative sponsored by iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) that encourages youth (ages 19 and younger) from around the world to use online tools and resources to measure their carbon footprint and develop ways to reduce their carbon usage. The goal is for one million students around the world to join the Zerofootprint Youth Calculator together with their families, their schools, and their communities to reduce the total global carbon footprint by 35,000 tons in the coming year. Students from schools in New York City, including the High School for Environmental Studies, will present the calculator and its potential for:

  • Measuring one’s carbon footprint.
  • Comparisons between schools, countries, gender and ages.
  • Setting personal and collective goals for lifestyle changes that will reduce the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Interacting with students worldwide on their actions in order to learn from each other and engage in collaborative activities to have a larger impact.
  • Pointing to other resources that youth can use to learn more about the subject of climate change.