Teaching students how to save energy and help the environment provides lessons that can last a lifetime. That’s the biggest takeaway of our third annual Change Our 2morrow (CO2) Schools’ Challenge.
The 2013 Schools’ Challenge, an initiative of Alcoa Foundation and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ Make an Impact program, took place last month in seven schools across five states. Thousands of middle school students, their teachers, families and community members participated in interactive lessons, completed an energy-saving pledge list, and calculated their carbon footprint as part of the month-long program. Collectively, 10,433 people committed to take actions in their daily lives that will save more than 21 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to taking 2,000 cars off the road for one year.
Recycling in the United States has made enormous strides over the last 40 years, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. I learned at a recent Residential Recycling Conference in Chicago that although approximately 75 percent of our waste is recyclable, we currently only recycle about 30 percent. The other 45 percent goes into landfills.
Reducing the amount of trash we discard, reusing products, and recycling as much as possible helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. As our Make an Impact website explains, waste is created throughout the life cycle of a product -- resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. For example, it takes seven times more energy to manufacture aluminum using virgin material than recycled material. Also, while many landfills capture the methane they release, not all do. Solid waste landfills are the third largest source of U.S. emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
An enormous amount of energy is used for big events like the Super Bowl, as tens of thousands of people travel to attend the event, and hotels, stadiums and other facilities ramp up their energy use to accommodate the crowds. This year’s Super Bowl, however, promises to tread more lightly, thanks to a partnership between C2ES, Entergy and the Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee.
An estimated 111 million people across the United States watched at least part of last year's Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. It was the most-watched event in U.S. TV history.
For those of us seeking to engage the public in the work of building a clean-energy future, sporting events offer a unique opportunity to reach the public. This year, for example, C2ES has teamed up with Entergy Corporation and the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee to launch a fun, environment-themed website and contest for NFL fans.
As we plunge into the holiday shopping season, take a minute to think about the things you can do to make searching for the perfect gift a little friendlier on the planet (and your wallet).
Here are nine ideas for making the holiday season a little greener and less stressful. Try one. And get more information on how you can save energy and help the planet at http://makeanimpact.c2es.org/