RONA (Regional Office for North America )
Ashleigh Kolla participated in the Sustainable Generations workshop in April in Nairobi. Her participation, along with her colleague Theresa Fresco, opened the door to international collaboration of the goBEYOND network. With the help of UNICEF's unite4climate web page, goBEYOND will be able to have more international ties to groups abroad. The major partnerships that would like to be further developed are between Inter Varsity Environmental Network (IVEN) and Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN).
In response to VANOC's U-reduce/U-produce video contest where youth (13-24) were invited to submit a 30 to 90 second video on what they can do reduce their environmental footprint, Darrick Lee and Michael Darnel wrote and recorded an original rap song and video that earned them first place. Darrick and Michael's submission of "Hurtin" - encouraged viewers to make responsible environmentally conscious choices in everyday life earned them first prize. Their video "stole the show" at the 8th World Conference.
Joanna Dafoe is most proud of her role as organizer of the President’s Climate Initiative campaign with the Sustainability Commission. Joanna organized a team of 30 volunteers to lobby the University of Toronto to sign a greenhouse gas emission reduction pledge. The campaign mobilized students through an online and offline petition, as well as an informative youtube video that was distributed widely across campus. The campaign generated media coverage from two city newspapers and an arts journal.
Annie Collins said, “When I came back as the new North American Representative on the TUNZA Junior Board, I started the Sustainability Club as there was no environmental club at my new school. Our first initiative is becoming a Fair Trade Town. We have made presentations and received the support of numerous community organizations, including the Village Council to sell and serve Fair Trade products at all official functions. We are also giving educational presentations to all students in our school district on Fair Trade. We hope to be the first Fair Trade Town in British Columbia, Canada. Our club is also designing a school garden for the school and community and organizing for every student in our school to plant and take care of their own tree, to minimize their carbon footprint and beautify our school grounds. We are also making and having bike racks installed on the school grounds to encourage students to cycle to school. In addition, we are starting a school store that will sell environmentally friendly products such as school supplies and clothing at affordable prices. In the Spring we will be holding a Sustainability Fair to celebrate and educate all students and the community about the variety of environmental projects and encourage all teachers and their students to become involved. All these initiatives are being published in our new Sustainability newsletter to help students, teachers, parents and community members keep informed and involved in helping our school and community be focused on sustainability.”
Tery-Jordy Ndibanje said, “Our team of children is engaged to seek how to improve the quality of our environment. We need to know what other children from others countries think about environment. Also, we would like to share what we have learned with other children in our community and beyond. The statistical knowledge about environment and how these changes can help for growing children how to take care our environment and make difference.”
Clara Simpson said, “The CISV Environmental Group is making a difference to the biodiversity in our ecosystem by helping to re-establish the bur oak to its natural habitat in the Saint John River Valley in New Brunswick, Canada. Over the years, farming, forestry, urban development and river damming have destroyed much of the bur oak habitat. We have planted over 300 native bur oak trees and have collected local seed (acorns), germinated them, planted them in pots and will plant them outside when they are ready. We have also produced a brochure detailing our conservation plan for distribution to landowners and naturalists.
United States of America
Daniel Hahm is an outgoing and active member of the school community. His most noteworthy activity is his participation in his school's Environmental Interest Group, a student-run club that participates in regional service projects as well as organizes activities and programs within the school, such as a recent "Green Week," "Bike to School" Days, and the distribution of reusable water bottles to replace disposable plastic.
Judy Li is the president of a community based ecology club organization. She has succeeded in motivating and leading members to participate in national environmental competitions and execute school wide projects such as a new sustainable recycling program and construction of a native plant garden.
Nichole Alex has been instrumental in getting the Navajo Green Economy Plan off the ground. The plan would establish a "Navajo Green Economy Fund" that would generate hundreds of green jobs. Nichole has been vital in building this plan with marketing and outreach throughout the Navajo Nation, particularly by working with Navajo youth.
In November of 2008, Richard Merritt co-created the “Let's Raise a Million” project. This student-led, policy-supported, urban ecological project conducts complete energy efficient light bulb retrofits and energy audits, free of charge, for residents of modest means while informing recipients of the health, economic and environmental benefits of energy conservation. The goal is to exchange 1,000,000 "clean bulbs" within four years.
From May to August 2008, Jessica Oh interned at the Seattle mayor’s office, working on a city-based environmental campaign called Seattle Climate Action Now (CAN). Seattle CAN provides the tools and resources for local residents to reduce their personal climate pollution, and its summer campaign “Give your car the summer off” was aimed at reducing the use of single-occupancy vehicles and encouraging residents to use mass transit, bike, or carpool. As an intern, she worked on outreach.
After meeting with Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Rina Mwiti wanted to be in an arena with other people from around the world who are working towards a greater environmental cause. One day, Rina realized that the non profit organizations in the developing countries were not as effective as they should be. She wondered why they did not come together and form a stronger organization, instead of giving only a small amount of food to the people in poverty; they could build research centres and more.
Lauren Nutter has coordinated our SustainUS Agents of Change Program. The program brings delegations of young people based in the U.S. to conferences and summits related to international policy, primarily at the United Nations. Juan Soriano is from Peru and is in charge of keeping in touch with the membership at-large and recruiting new members. He is also helping coordinate our grassroots working group and networking with youth activists from South America, to bring a youth delegation from that region to COP15.
In collaboration, Charles Grieve developed a community outreach project and educational website called “Healthy Ways~ Green Days.” Working with the Meridian Health Foundation and Whole Foods markets, who is the local sponsor, this project illustrates the link between what we eat and how this affects our bodies and our environment at the same time. The program is geared towards children and youth, and is based on the research of Dr. Colin Campbell and his work published in a book called, “The China Study.”
Gillian Hutter said, “I would like to tell you about a community environmental project called the North American Bird Phenology Program. I have volunteered for the program and would love to share information about bird migration and the impact birds have on our environment. Birds impact our environment is a big way. Birds are important transporters of seeds and plants grow from those seeds. When a bird species migration pattern changes, plants and our environment are affected severely. I am working with the information that the North American Bird Phenology Program has collected. The North American Birde Phenology Program houses a unique and largely forgotten collection of six million migration observer cards that illuminate migration patterns and population status of birds in North America. When I volunteer, I see how important it is to keep track of the world around us (especially the birds)! My volunteering (in a small way) will help scientists determine the impact that global warming has had with bird migration.”
Krishna (Dylan) Mahalingam said, “The project “Green Your Lives,” is a student-organized group dedicated to the concept of going green. The team of students united with the purpose of educating their greater community about our planet’s current environmental condition, and the growing problem of dwindling natural resources. The philosophy of the group is that going green is not a choice, but a necessary responsibility. The studentsâ€™ goal is to promote greener lifestyle choices, which in turn, will result in a reduction of energy cost and carbon emissions. The students began their work within the school system focusing on energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling. Since then they have become involved in community outreach organizing a “Give and Go” program. Thus far, the students have implemented several initiatives and numerous activities are scheduled for launch throughout the year. The team has generated an informational website (http://www.greenyourlives.org), produced public service announcements, and organized green events within the community. This fall, the group partnered with the Derry Cooperative School District to educate students and staff on ways to go green. The team believes that school is the place to start; it is their belief that when students receive quality instruction of the positive effects of green practice, they are more likely to become environmentally responsible as they grow up. To this end, the students of “Green Your Lives” have sought corporate sponsorship of educational posters and videos, which have been distributed and posted around the schools in the district. In addition to public awareness, the team of students is actively engaged in their own research surrounding lowering of carbon emissions. With the guidance of experts sought out by the team, the students have successfully built a model solar car and are actively experimenting with the creation of a fuel cell car prototype. Our ultimate goal is to include environmental education as part of the curriculum in American schools; attending the summit will help us network with like minded youth so we can grow the project to the next level. “Green Your Lives” is a dedicated group of students, working tirelessly to promote environmental awareness. For more information please visit http://www.greenyourlives.org for photos/videos.”
Anthony Hopkins aka Lil Peppi is a 10 year old child from Tampa, Florida. He has devoted the past 3 years of his young life trying to keep focus on taking care of the planet. In 2006 he released his first professional song about fighting global warming called "Mother Nature's Crying". Since then he has released another song about taking care of the planet called "Melting Ice". Peppi has also performed both songs at numerous Earth Day celebrations around the United States and even won a Sierra Club award in 2008 for his dedication to the planet.
Yong-Jai Kim said, “My brother and I investigated our city rivers. Our city has 3 main rivers, but they are dirty and smelly. We were worried about what would happen if dirty rivers end up washing into the sea. We wanted to know how clean they are, so we decided to test the river water. First, we investigated river banks and surrounding environment along 3 rivers. During the winter time, it was hard to see any flow of water. We observed some birds resting on the banks and lots of garbage, and sewage pipes. The rivers were surrounded by busy traffic roads, towns, hotels and factories. During spring and summer, we could see flowers, green weeds, grass and people strolling along the watershed. Next, we tested the water along the rivers for 66km of total length. To know the water quality, we examined ph, temperature, DO, COD, ammonium, nitrite, phosphate with using a water testing kit. After we tested the river water we thought that some people were using the rivers as a trash can. They would not know that clean water is limited. But, we also found a hope from some people. While we were testing the water, we interviewed some people who had been lived in that city since they were children. We heard how clean and deep the rivers had been and how much they missed those days when they swam in the rivers. Some people were curious about what two children were doing inside and along the river water. We explain them that we were trying to protect the river water. They were surprised and encouraged us a lot. Some of them were very interested and asked us to send them the results. We even met a gentleman who had done the same thing. We were very happy to meet many people and to find hope to share our thought. Then, we visited sewage treatment plant of our city and learned how the sewage was filtered clean enough to run into the river. Finally, we exhibited the result in our school to tell the importance of clean water. We shared our experience with teachers and friends. Now they understand how precious the drinking water is and how much energy and effort are needed to get clean water. My brother and I keep watching the rivers and watersheds. I would like discuss on water protection with friends from all over the world in the conference. I want to know more about what children can do for the water.”
Cassandra Lin said, “I'm a member of the Westerly Innovations Network (WIN team) and I started the project TGIF - Turn Grease Into Fuel in September 2008. Over the last couple year, bio-fuels have emerged as a potential solution to the climate change problem. However, the increasing demand for bio-fuels has been blamed for causing food shortages and environmental disasters such as deforestation. Meanwhile, restaurants can generate hundreds of gallons of waste oil per week, which can be refined into bio-diesel. My group has design a sustainable waste oil recycling system by coordinating the efforts of local restaurants, bio-diesel processors, and the local WARM shelters. By asking restaurants and residents to donate their waste cooking oil then working with local bio-diesel company to turn it into bio-fuel, we hope to be able to provide people in need with heat for this coming winter as well as use the bio-diesel generated by this project on school buses to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions.”