Day 5

Energy

SPONSORED BY CLIF BAR

The Story of Stuff Project
Guayaki
EcoWatch

OVERVIEW

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” ~Thomas Edison (1931)

No matter how quiet we get, there’s always a buzz that surrounds us. We hear it in our homes, schools, offices, and even on quiet dimly-lit streets. It’s the hum of energy at work to create light, heat, and movement in our world. Almost every action you take —  from the moment you wake up until you close your eyes at night — requires energy. That light from your computer screen that’s allowing you to read this challenge? That’s right. Energy.

The buzz is only getting louder. With the global population on the rise and so many newly industrialized economies, the demand for energy is skyrocketing. But where will it all come from?

Three fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, and coal – have dominated the energy sector for more than 100 years. None of those sources are renewable. In fact, they emit tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, polluting our cities and our atmosphere. Through destructive mining practices such as fracking, massive oil spills, and careless discarding of waste, the fossil fuel industry has damaged many ecosystems beyond repair. It has driven climate change to full-blown catastrophe and harmed communities in the most underdeveloped corners of the earth.

How can we keep depleting non-renewable resources when the world is only becoming more energy-dependent? The answer is simple – We can’t.

There is an alternative, however. While we still rely heavily on coal, oil and gas due to inefficient and unjust fossil fuel subsidies, technology for renewable energy from sources like wind and sun is ever expanding, causing rapid growth and investment in clean power. These are resources that aren’t running out anytime soon, and they could allow future generations to meet their energy needs.

Why has it taken so long for renewables to gain traction? Well, the fossil fuel industry has long had control over politics due to profits and strong lobbying efforts. Luckily, there are plenty of companies committed to a clean energy future. Today’s partner, CLIF Bar, is dedicated to reducing emissions and offsetting their carbon footprint through a comprehensive climate action plan in order to protect the places we play. In fact, CLIF Bar is actually climate neutral and in 2007 they offset their historical carbon footprint back to their company’s start in 1992.

The United States government associates jobs with fossil fuels, making many Americans feel that if we lose fossil fuels we also lose jobs. However, solar energy actually employs more people than coal, oil, and gas combined! What’s more, clean energy is growing faster each year because renewable energy is positive energy. In addition to creating jobs, renewable energy creates a diverse energy supply, improves public health, and puts us on the road to energy independence. How’s that for buzz?

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

Transitioning to a clean energy future starts with understanding your own consumption and then taking steps to reduce it. Sometimes we use energy without even realizing it! Phantom energy, or “vampire power,” refers to the energy that is used and wasted by electronics and appliances when they are plugged in, even if they are turned off.

Challenge

  • Now that you know a bit more about where your energy comes from, it’s time to think about the things you don’t see and examine your own personal Phantom energy consumption. Read this article about vampire power from National Geographic.
  • Take a look around your living space.
  • What are your 3 biggest phantom energy sources?
  • Photograph each source and write a caption stating how you can reduce your energy consumption for each.

Deliverables

Upload your responses in a PDF document.  Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2017.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

The race for green energy is on. Big tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have all invested in clean energy to reduce their carbon footprint. After President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to lead a group of mayors, governors and CEOs in cutting emissions according to the Paris Accord. Schools are taking action by divesting from fossil fuels, constructing Energy Star buildings, and bringing renewables to campuses. Technology has significantly advanced the ways in which we can harvest energy, and there are a wide variety of alternatives that many people aren’t even aware of. Did you know that we can now generate energy from waves and algae?

Challenge

  • The world of alternative energy is way more vast than wind turbines and solar panels (though those are a good start). Take some time to explore innovative energy sources. Check out Drawdown Project or other web resources for your research.
  • Once you have done some research, list 3 alternative sources of energy, and share the pros and cons of each source.
    • Which energy source do you think is the most sustainable long-term? Why?
    • What is one innovative way to produce energy that totally inspires you and explain why you feel so strongly about it.
    • Post a photo on a social media platform of your choice with an insightful and informational caption about that energy source.  

Deliverables

Upload your responses in a PDF document. Be sure to include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Due on 10/20 at 6am PT. We will award up to 50 bonus points based on quality of work.

Think

From feeding the student population to heating and cooling the residence halls, school campuses use A LOT of energy. With more and more people working to reduce the footprint of institutions, schools are a great opportunity to propel the movement to a 100% clean energy future.

Challenge

It’s easy to dismiss the magnitude of your school’s footprint when students are so removed from the system. Most people don’t think about the enormous amount of energy required to run a campus. Today we want you to act as if you are a journalist for your school newspaper, reporting on the energy consumption of your campus.

  • Write a piece as if it were a front-page feature in your school newspaper. (50 bonus points if you can actually get it published!)
    • Do a simple assessment of your school’s energy usage. Consider each aspect of campus life (transportation, food, heating, etc.)
    • Research any clean energy initiatives, policies or energy-saving projects that your campus is using or considering. Talk to a school leader that oversees facilities or sustainability to help with your story. Include a quote from that person in your article.  
    • Where does your school source its energy?
      • Do some investigating to see if there is a power plant on or near your campus. If so, describe it.
      • If there is a power plant close by, do some research to understand what the impacts might be to your campus community (students/faculty/staff) and to your campus environment.
      • Share your findings with 2 members of your campus community to get their impressions of your findings. Include a quote from one of them in your article.  
    • Summarize your learnings from the people you talk to and be sure to share your own perspective.  

We will post two outstanding pieces on our partner’s platform, Global Lead, a channel that promotes education, advocacy and activism to encourage and create positive social and environmental changes.

Deliverables

Upload your responses in a PDF document. Be sure to include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2017.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.

Extra Credit

0 POINTS
Due on 10/28 at 6am PT. We will award up to 100 bonus points.

Think

As you know by now, energy and climate change are complex issues. It can be hard to know where to start unpacking these topics — especially in regular conversation. One great way to tell the story is through film, because film can help make next steps seem more possible. The new documentary Time to Choose by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Charles Ferguson, not only explains the scope of climate change, but also offers actions to fix this global threat. It is the first major film to offer compelling stories of the innovators, leaders and average people fighting on the front lines for a cleaner, more sustainable world.

Challenge

Now it’s your opportunity to bring your friends, faculty, and other members of your campus community together to engage in a conversation about our climate crisis and especially the solutions that we can all partake in.

  • Watch the trailer for Time to Choose here.
    • If you feel inspired, your challenge is to host a screening party for the documentary and facilitate an after-screening discussion.
  • Next Steps to host a screening
    • Set a date and a venue: venue ideas for hosting the viewing party include a house, apartment, dorm, lecture hall, library or anywhere that has a big screen!
    • Invite guests:  invite your friends, family, fellow students, campus green club members, or anyone you think would be interested. Time to Choose has offered us a limited number of screening copies of the film to participants in PGC 2017 for small groups of up to 25 viewers. (Screenings for audiences larger than 25 viewers will require a public screening license which can be requested through your school or college)
    • Your task will be to view the film with your group and lead an after-screening discussion to inspire action.   
    • After-Screening Discussion: Offer your reflection of the film and its messages. Host a Q & A. Is there any action that you and the group might take as a result? A Film Discussion Guide and topics for discussions are available here.
    • Fill out the application here by October 9 at 6 am PT to apply for a screening. If you are selected, we will notify you and a screening code by   October 11. You will have until October 28 at 11:59 pm PT to host the screening.
  • Host a larger screening  (optional) (no points for this)
    • If you were inspired by Time to Choose, and want to screen it for a larger audience on your campus, you can win a free public screening license. Five screening licenses with a DVD package and unlimited screening rights will be provided by the maker of the film. Create a plan and send it to info@turninggreen.org for consideration. We will notify you within the week.
      • Tell us your motivation to host a screening of the film and  how you would host such a screening. Is there a theater or large lecture hall available for a couple hundred guests on your campus that you could reserve? How will you promote your screening? Would you an after-screening activity or start a campaign to engage students in supporting climate action on your campus (e.g. buying more clean energy, divestment etc.)
      • If you wish to hold a campus screening of Time to Choose, another way to acquire the film is to request the Educational Edition from the college media librarian. Colleges usually honor these requests and there is no cost to students.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF with photos/captions or a video that tells the story of your screening – the room, the guests, the discussion following, reflections by you. Create a post on a social media platform sharing a visual or link to the film trailer and something that inspired you.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
  • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_Extra_Credit_2017.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.