Are you better than a fifth grader?

Apr 26, 2017 by Énergir in Energy
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Climate change is one of the greatest sustainable development challenges we face today. According to several experts, extreme weather events are a sure sign of the new climate reality in all parts of the world. Such changes mean that we need to review many of our consumption habits.

There are effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigating the impact of climate change. Education is a fine example.

The Scol’ERE Carbon Scholarship supports a government strategy that calls upon the young and not-so-young to understand and adopt new eco-friendly habits to reduce the impact of climate change. Québec’s 2013–2020 Climate Change Action Plan and Governmental Climate Change Adjustment Strategy are clear indications that the government wants young people to get involved now in the fight against climate change. To this end, teachers are encouraged to acquire and pass on knowledge.

The Scol’ERE Carbon Scholarship Program, an integrative turnkey initiative, is firmly anchored in the Science and Technology course and meets the requirements of the Québec Education Program. It offers grade 4, 5 and 6 teachers and students more than 10 hours of workshops along with the chance to evaluate the critical knowledge obtained.

More specifically, the Scol’ERE Carbon Scholarship Program is a collective educational movement made up of five workshops. The first workshop introduces the initiative. The three core activities that follow are built on the life cycle assessment principle. They include the discovery of GHG sources, the extraction of raw materials at the end of a product’s life and the energy and transportation needed. A final workshop takes place in the form of a slam or video clip to demonstrate the commitment of participants.

A positive, fun approach enables students to learn “the ABCs of GHGs” (greenhouse gas solutions). Investigating everyday actions will help find solutions that they and their families can put into practice at home to reduce the carbon footprint of their daily activities. After 10 hours of workshops, they will have made a complete life cycle assessment without even realizing it!

A number of measures taken by students concern our use of energy. Since last December, 277 youngsters and their families have pledged not to excessively heat their homes in winter, by lowering the temperature three degrees at night and during the day when everybody is out. They came up with such suggestions as placing a reminder on the door or programming thermostats. Also, they suggested adding an extra cover on the bed and wearing slippers.

Reducing energy consumption is another popular gesture. Instinctively, students think of switching off lights when leaving a room, but they also found that our virtual activities leave a carbon footprint! Many decided to delete previously read emails from their inbox to reduce the energy needed to store data on the Web. This is a challenge taken up by 330 youngsters for the coming year, while encouraging their families to follow suit.

Energy also includes transportation. Thus, 270 youngsters have committed to replacing one journey per week by an active mode of transportation. And, 244 others have accepted a challenge to use public transit to get to school or to recreational activities. Lastly, 280 young people have decided to raise awareness of green driving practices by encouraging their parents to shut off the car engine while waiting for lengthy periods, reducing engine idling time and checking tire pressure every month.

And that’s just for starters, because the initiative is only halfway through this year. The collective objective for the 2016–2017 school year is to cut CO2 emissions by one million kilograms. A total of 2,058 students across Québec are mobilizing and adopting new habits at home. You too can take part by choosing your own challenges and supporting a student. Simply fill out the following form: