Letting Teens See Renewable Energy in Action

The Go Green Initiative works hard to provide students with opportunities to learn about how the systems in their communities work. We help them learn about their local energy, water, waste and food systems. One of our recent endeavors provided some teenagers with the opportunity to get “up close and personal” with wind and energy-from-waste technology, and to explore solar and hydroelectric, as well. The photo you see here is a teen investigating how energy is created from post-recycled solid waste. Click here to see the video we produced about renewable energy.

Green CA Schools and Community Colleges Summit & Expo

The 2015 Green California Schools Summit and Community Colleges Summit will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center on October 29-30. The Summit is the largest annual event focused on green programs in the nation’s largest K-12 system and higher education systems.

With the theme “Achieving the Benefits of High Performance Schools,” the Summit will highlight the economic, educational and community benefits that districts have achieved by making a commitment to sustainability.

Offering an Expo with over 100 companies offering green products and services, educational sessions, and special events including a Leadership Awards reception, the Summit is a unique annual opportunity for public and private sector stakeholders to share innovations in green policy, practice and technology.

The opening session on October 29 will include a keynote presentation by JPL research scientist Bill Patzert. A media favorite who has been called “the prophet of California climate,” Dr. Patzert is known as one of the West’s most influential individuals in regard to water issues. He is regularly seen on local and national television representing NASA and JPL.

Educational Opportunities

Green building and energy programs are helping districts create healthy environments for students and recover money for their general funds. Curriculum and student engagement efforts are helping students understand their role in preserving the state’s resources and opening the doors to career opportunities.

Dozens of concurrent education sessions will focus on critical topics, from best practices for utilizing Prop 39 energy efficiency funds to water conservation techniques and funding for energy and building projects. The recent report from the Statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force will also be discussed, will guidelines and successes from the Green Ribbon Schools Program.

Summit partners at CalRecycle, the California Energy Commission, the School Energy Coalition, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, the Green Schools Initiative, Strategic Energy Innovations, the Alliance to Save Energy, Grades of Green, the State Allocation Board and the Metropolitan Water District, among others, are assisting in the development of sessions that meet the needs of professionals in this sector.

Leadership Awards

At a reception on October 29, the annual Leadership Awards reception will recognize achievements in categories ranging from green building and energy efficiency to curriculum. The awards were established by the Summit’s Advisory Board to honor individuals and school districts on the leading edge of school sustainability.

Advisors and Sponsors

The Advisory Board for the conference is chaired by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, State Architect Chet Widom, California Community College Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner and Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Workforce Preparation.

The Premier sponsor for the event is American Modular Systems/Gen7, additional sponsors include Sigler, CalRecycle and LED Living Technology.

More Information

Registration for the keynotes, Expo and Leadership Awards are free. For more information and to register, go to www.green-technology.org or call 626-577-5700.

Carl Smith, Editor in Chief



Teacher Resource on Renewable Energy

Please share this information with K-12 teachers. We have created a fun, science-based 5 minute video using teen actors that explains where renewable energy comes from, how it creates electricity, and why it is beneficial to the environment. The video is appropriate for kids from kindergarten through high school, and is available to anyone with internet access on YouTube.

The idea behind making this video was to both entertain and educate kids. There are plenty of videos out there that use graphics or older actors to explain renewable energy to kids, but we wanted to make a video that used live action and fun, teen actors to make the topic more relatable. We used information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s section on renewable energy for all the science in the video, and we hope educators across the U.S. will find this a helpful resource.

You will see live-action, drone footage of geothermal; solar; energy from waste; hydroelectric; and wind plants. You can also see behind-the-scenes pictures here.

Environmental Education and the Pope’s Encyclical

When I founded the Go Green Initiative back in 2002, I saw myself as more of a child advocate than an environmentalist. The human health impact of pollution, and the break-neck speed at which our world is consuming finite natural resources, made me worry about the world I was leaving to my children. My motto was (and still is): “It’s not enough to prepare our children for the future. We must prepare the future for our children.” I simply could not stand by and leave my children’s future up to others, and so I joined hands with other concerned parents across the country and around the world, and together, we have created the Go Green Initiative movement which is active in 3,200 schools in all 50 U.S. states and in 73 countries around the world. We have implemented programs aimed at two powerful goals: to preserve and conserve natural resources for future generations, and to protect human health through environmental stewardship.

In the Pope’s new encyclical, Laudato Si, he devotes an entire section to what he calls, “Justice Between Generations”, and calls on all people – not just Catholics – to bring about “intergenerational solidarity…and reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.” It is my hope that all parents, teachers, and those who love children will cherish and enact this section of Laudato Si.

I had an hour-long conversation with Fr. James Martin, Editor-at-Large of America magazine on my radio show, Go Green Radio. We talked about many of the sections in the Pope’s guidance on environmental protection, including the use of fossil fuels, the relationship between the Catholic Church and science, the correlation between care for the planet and care for the poor, and much more! You can listen to the archived broadcast here, or download it for free from iTunes.

Energy Express…all aboard!

Wanna fly over the tallest dam in the U.S.?!? Hop aboard the “Energy Express!”

“Energy Express” is a live action, scripted comedy for K-12 students that was shot at numerous renewable energy plants. Using teen actors and drone camera footage, viewers get to “fly over” the tallest hydroelectric dam in the U.S. and one of the most expansive wind farms in the world. The episode explains how and where various forms of clean energy are produced, and why renewable energy is better for the environment and human health. The episode uses humor and computer generated imagery (CGI) to engage young audiences in the important discussion of how to convert our economy to one that is run on renewable energy.

“Energy Express” is part of a four-episode series called, “jEnergy”, which is the video blog of a teen named Jenna who is on a quest to learn all she can about energy. Other episodes cover topics such as: why energy is so important in our lives; the correlation between energy use and carbon emissions; and nonrenewable energy sources. The series was produced by the Go Green Initiative (GGI) whose mission is to conserve and protect natural resources for future generations. The GGI was founded in 2002 and is operating in over 3,200 schools in all 50 U.S. states and in 73 countries around the world. More than 2.5 million students attend schools that have adopted the Go Green Initiative.

For some fun, behind-the-scenes photos click here.