Day 20

Energy

SPONSORED BY GUAYAKI YERBA MATE

Guayaki
The Story of Stuff Project

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

No matter how quiet we get, there always seems to be a buzz surrounding us. We hear it in our homes, schools, offices, even on quiet dimly-lit streets. It’s the hum of energy at work powering our world. 

The buzz is only getting louder. With global population on the rise and many newly industrialized economies, demand for energy is skyrocketing. Yet, many sources say that our global oil supply has already peaked, meaning that it is highly unlikely any large new oil reserves, the basis for petroleum, will be discovered.   

Three fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, and coal – have dominated the energy sector for over 100 years. None of these sources are renewable. They emit tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, polluting our air and threatening our health. Through destructive mining practices such as fracking, offshore drilling, and careless discarding of waste, the fossil fuel industry has damaged many ecosystems beyond repair with massive oil spills or leaked methane. It has driven climate change to full-blown catastrophe and harmed communities in the most vulnerable 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 cannot. Even as use of fossil fuels becomes more efficient, it remains impossible to fuel infinite economies on finite resources. Efficiency merely prolongs the negative consequences of extraction; this is not a long-term solution for humankind. 

Fortunately, planet earth produces endless amounts of clean energy everyday, just waiting to be harnessed. Wind, waves, and the sun are all sources of renewable energy that can be utilized without many of the negative consequences of fossil fuels. And after initial costs of equipment, these sources of energy are practically free! So while governments around the world continue to undermine the renewable energy sector with cozy fossil fuel relationships and unjust subsidies, natural market forces have caused ever-expanding investment in renewable energy technology. 

Why then has it taken so long for renewables to gain traction? And why are we still primarily reliant on fossil fuels? Well, the fossil fuel industry has long had control over politics due to strong lobbying efforts and deep-pocket campaign contributions.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 twice as many people as coal

The good news is that the world is waking up to renewable energy’s vast potential.  

This year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to transition the US economy away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. After the US President 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.  

Much of the rest of the world is pursuing a clean energy future. More than 15 major cities have set ambitious goals of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with many more are on the way. China is constructing a Forest City where houses, schools, and businesses are covered in trees, plants, and solar panels that will absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 per year and produce enough clean energy for an entire city! In Ontario, the largest coal plant in North America has been converted to a solar farm.  

In addition to creating jobs, renewable energy creates a diverse energy supply, improves public health, and puts every country on the road to energy independence. How’s that for buzz?!

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

A sustainable climate future can only be obtained by transitioning our economy to renewable energy. But what would that future actually look like?

CHALLENGE

Watch today’s video about what our future could look like. How does this future make you feel? Write a reflection (200 words or less).

DELIVERABLES

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

One of the most important ways that we can transition to renewable energy is by implementing policy at the national level, which means ensuring elected leaders champion and support policies that usher in a sustainable, renewable energy future. This challenge will help you become more informed about the energy platforms our policy makers support.

CHALLENGE

If your country has upcoming elections, research a few candidates’ stances on energy. 

  • Pick two candidates whose energy platforms stand out to you. Tell us about their platforms and if it will impact the way you vote.

If your country has no upcoming elections, research your current leader’s energy platform and tell us about it.

Next, imagine if you were running for office. How would you frame your own energy platform? Share your platform on social media and tag @turninggreenorg with #PGC2019.

DELIVERABLES 

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

From feeding the student population to heating and cooling residence halls, school campuses use massive amounts of energy. Academic institutions have a great opportunity to implement a 100% clean energy future.

CHALLENGE 

Do a simple assessment of your school’s energy usage and power sources. Consider each aspect of campus life: transportation, food, heating, etc. 

  • What is your school’s primary source of energy?
  • Is there a power plant on or next to campus?
  • Research any clean energy initiatives, policies or energy-saving projects that your campus has adopted or is considering.

Write up your findings in a story that could become a front-page feature in your school newspaper. Bonus points if you can get it published! Email info@turninggreen.org by October 29 with evidence.

DELIVERABLES 

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019

TODAY’S PRIZES

Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest of the most outstanding submissions will be chosen as winners and awarded prize points to redeem in the PGC Prize Store. Greener wins = 75 prize points, Greenest wins = 100 prize points. Check the Winners page to see if you’re selected!

5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:

Guayaki Yerba Mate
Gourd Set, Loose Leaf Mate, Organic Cotton T-Shirt, 
Mate Drink, Sparkling Mate Drink

Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!

Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.