Day 5

Energy

SPONSORED BY CLIF BAR

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)

The day begins. You set your alarm clock, switch on the light, take a hot shower, open the fridge, and brew a hot cup of coffee. Almost every action you engage in from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep requires energy. Even the light from your computer screen means that energy was transported from its source into your socket to allow you to read this challenge, check emails, and share posts on social media. With the global population increase and new industrialized economies, the demand for energy is increasing enormously. 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. That’s a long time to run on non-renewable resources that emit tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that pollute our cities and our atmosphere. Through destructive mining practices like fracking, oil spills, and careless discarding of waste, the fossil fuel industry has damaged irreplaceable ecosystems, driven the problem of climate change to catastrophe and harmed communities in the most underdeveloped parts of our world. The sage wisdom and sad forecast from Thomas Edison in PGC’s quote of the day is playing out today.

How are we going to keep going with depletion of our non-renewable resources when the world is only becoming more and more energy-dependent? We can’t. There’s an alternative! While we still rely heavily on coal, oil and gas due to inefficient and unjust fossil fuel subsidies, technology for renewable energy is ever expanding, causing rapid growth and investment in clean power.

Because renewables come from sources like the wind or the sun, environmental harm can be mitigated when harvesting the energy. Even better, we don’t have to worry about the resource not being able to replenish itself, allowing for future generations to meet their energy needs as well.

Why has it taken so long for renewables to gain any traction? Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry has long had control over politics due to profits and strong lobbying efforts, making any progress towards clean energy slow at best. Luckily, there are plenty of companies who are on our side, committing 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, they’re actually climate neutral and in 2007 they offset their historical carbon footprint back to their company’s start in 1992.

Following the Paris Climate Agreement, more and more countries are stepping up their commitments to sustainable energy. United States President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto have collectively made commitments for North America to achieve 50% clean energy goals by 2025. In addition, China has taken important steps towards reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by cutting back on fossil fuels with their climate action plan. Every day we are seeing new science to tell the climate change story, new commitments to roll back the use of fossil fuels and scientists coming forward to share sound science as a reason to understand that this is what we each as individuals, campuses, communities and countries around our planet have to commit to. At the White House yesterday, President Obama hosting climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe and Activist/Actor Leonardo DiCaprio at the White House made this a call to action, “There are many entry points into this issue, and we have to use all of them to get people to care about this,” Obama said. “But at the end of the day, everyone cares about their kids and grandkids and the kind of world we pass on to them.” Check out this Good Read from EcoWatch here.
Today you will learn about your own energy consumption and alternatives to your current use. With consumers becoming more and more aware about where their energy is coming from and taking active steps to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, we can combat climate change and start living in harmony with what the earth has already provided.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

The race for green energy is on. Major companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have all invested in clean energy to reduce their carbon footprint. 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

  • Research the many different types of energy sources available. Really explore the web and think outside the box!
  • List at least 5 potential sources of energy, and the pros and cons of each.
  • Which energy source do you think is the most sustainable long-term? Why?

 

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_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc or upload a group of docs as a zip file
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please 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 #PGC2016. 
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

Transitioning to a clean energy future starts by reducing energy consumption at an individual level. 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. There are many actions we can take to reduce our energy footprint – and cost!

Challenge

Now that you know a bit more about where your energy comes from, how much do you use and how can you reduce it?

  • Read this article about vampire power from National Geographic.
  • Take a look around your living space. How many “vampire” electronics or appliances do you notice? Photograph at least three sources of phantom energy and find eco-alternatives for each.
  • List 10 steps you can take as an individual to reduce your energy consumption. Think about the actions you take over the course of a whole day. (Hint: Do you drive or bike to class?)

 

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document with your responses and photos. 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_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc or upload a group of docs as a zip file
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please 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 #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Due on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 6am PT

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 each component of 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.

  • Do as complete an assessment of your school’s energy usage as you can. Make sure to consider each aspect of campus life (transportation, food, heating, etc.)
  • Research any clean energy initiatives or energy-saving projects that are in use or being worked on. Are there any energy policies currently in place?
  • From where does your school source their energy? Do some investigating to see if there is a dirty energy power plant on or near your campus. What are the impacts to the campus community?
  • What if anything is your school doing to divest from fossil fuels.
  • Write up a complete report of your findings as if it were a featured front page article in your school newspaper.

We will post the top three pieces on our Conventional to Conscious blog and also try to place them on one of our partner websites.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document with your responses and photos. 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_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc or upload a group of docs as a zip file
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please 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 #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Extra Credit

0 POINTS

Up to 150 Points. Awarded at the Discretion of the PGC Team

Due on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 6 am PT

Challenge

  • Contact the Editors of your school paper and see if you can get your story published!
  • What were the responses to your request?
  • To receive points, you will need to submit a confirmation that your school paper will run the story you wrote.

 

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document with your responses and the date of when your report will be published. Email a link of your published report to info@turninggreen.org once it is live. 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_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc or upload a group of docs as a zip file
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please 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 #PGC2016.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.