Cool Off with Green Pesto
Want to go green with a delicious recipe? Want to cool off during the hot summer months? If so, try out this unique pesto recipe! This pesto sauce can be spread on sandwiches, poured onto veggies for cool salads, or stirred into cooked linguine pasta for a special occasion. Traditional pestos can be unsustainable, due to the amount of cheese needed to create them. 1 pound of cheese uses an average of 350 gallons of water. This recipe uses miso paste instead of parmesan cheese, making this recipe more water efficient (it takes 257 gallons of water to create for 1 pound of miso paste) and tastier due to the higher umami content of miso. Feel free to tag Grades of Green when you make this dish.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups fresh basil leaves (tightly packed)
-1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves (tightly packed)
– 4 large cloves of garlic
– ¼ cup pine nuts
– 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
– ½ tablespoon of miso paste (any miso works)
– Salt (to taste)
– Pepper (to taste)

Directions:
– In the food processor, blender, or a motar and pestle, blend the basil, Italian parsley, garlic, pine nuts, miso paste, and lemon juice.
– Gradually add the olive oil into the mixture, a spoonful at a time. Keep blending and pouring in olive oil until mixture is smooth.
– Taste the mixture, add salt and pepper to taste and blend one last time.
– Serve immediately or chill in a container and eat within 5 days. You can store this for longer by freezing the pesto.

Pesto flavor and texture comes down to individual preference. If you want something creamier, add more pine nuts and garlic. If you want something saucier, add more olive oil. Feel free to edit this recipe until it is just right for you!

Grades of Green’s Impact-a-thon at Subaru Pacific was a success!

Students that participated in past Grades of Green Campaigns gathered to share their findings and solutions to not only celebrate their efforts but to teach others how to engage in environmentally friendly actions. Teams focused on addressing waste and water issues by partaking in methods to reduce food waste, reusable items over single-use packaged items, and by educating others to take action as well. In addition, the teams share their videos from the Campaigns.

Check out our Facebook live videos from the event to join in on the fun!

Need a New Sustainable Recipe This Summer?

Try making Elote Corn! This savory and refreshing dish is perfect for a summer day!

Ingredients:

4 ears of corn

1/3 cup of sour cream / Mexican crema

1/3 cup of mayonnaise (you can substitute with vegan mayonnaise)

1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 tablespoons of finely minced cilantro (optional)

1/2 cup of crumbled cotija cheese (optional)

1 teaspoon of Kosher salt

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (if grilling)

1 pot of water (if boiling)

1 Lime

Instructions:

– In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, most of the chili pepper, most of the cumin powder, and the 1 teaspoon of salt. The remaining chili powder and cumin will be used to garnish the corn at the end. Set aside.

– Prepare the crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro, these ingredients will be used to garnish the corn at the end.

Grilled Corn

– Brush grill grate with vegetable oil. Heat grill to high heat. Place corn directly on the grill. Grill corn, turning occasionally until cooked and lightly charred for about 10 minutes.

OR
Boiled Corn

– Boil your peeled corn for 10 minutes. After boiling, carefully remove and pat dry.

– Brush the corn with the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture.

– Sprinkle the cotija cheese crumbles (optional), chili powder mixture, and cilantro (optional) in that order.

– Squeeze lime over the corn and serve immediately.

Extra Tip!
You can cut the corn off the cobs and serve with spoonfuls of the mayonnaise /sour cream mixture and serve as a side-dish with other foods!

From April 22-26, students at Bryant Ranch Elementary participated in a school wide Earth Week campaign which was proudly sponsored by the school’s Green Team. Activities included a week-long trash-free lunch program, a free student-led Eco-craft focusing on paper waste reduction, and environmentally friendly participation prizes.

During the week, students were encouraged to bring in reusable water bottles, reusable lunch containers, reusable napkins, reusable forks/spoons, reusable lunch bags and other earth-friendly ideas. Supervisors were on hand to reward students who participated with special Earth Week Brag Cards. Over 300 students participated each day.

On Thursday, April 25, the Green Team explained how to re-purpose gently used paper into beautiful origami shapes. This Eco-craft was held during both lunches, so all students (1st through 5th grade) had the opportunity to participate. Students learned that re-purposing or “up-cycling” paper is a less expensive option to recycling paper. Participants re-purposed paper into origami hearts.

At the end of the week, those students who earned “brag cards” for performing environmentally friendly actions were able to redeem prizes. Prizes for Earth Week participation were donated from several local agencies including the City of Irvine, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Water District, and Southern California Edison.

Students at Bryant Ranch Elementary actively participated in the Earth Week activities, and enjoyed learning how to help save our planet.

Bryant Ranch Elementary School’s Green Team operates a daily waste awareness program. Green Team members assist other students sorting food waste (for compost), recycling plastic and aluminum waste, and re-using unopened items (for the Second Harvest Food bank.) To date, they have sorted waste from over 50,000 lunches.

Join The Water Campaign!

Want to make a difference like Bryant Ranch students? Join us this Fall in our Water Campaign to prevent single-use plastics from hurting our precious water sources by clicking HERE!

Enjoy Hockey? Watch the LA Kings Go!

The LA Kings have joined forces with Grades of Green to promote environmental action. The LA Kings Team have made serious environmental changes to help the planet. Just last month, the LA Kings celebrated the past Earth month by building edible gardens, installing solar panels, and by promoting Grades of Green’s upcoming Fall Water Campaign. In addition to their on the ground actions, they have encouraged fans to save water, conserving over 1,000,000 gallons of water on World Water Day!

Check out their blog post to see all of their environmental activities HERE.

When hockey season rolls around again in October, you’ll know who to cheer for- the environmentally active LA Kings!

This week is Composting Week!

From May 5 2019 to May 11, 2019, celebrate composting week by being more mindful of your food waste!

1. Reduce the amount of uneaten food this week.

Try planning your meals ahead of time and placing older food in the front of your refrigerator and older food in the back and labeling foods by date, you can keep your meals and ingredients fresh. By keeping your foods fresh and in good condition, you can reduce the need to throw away food in the first place.

2. Learn How to Compost!

Follow these tips to compost! To get started, you simply need a closed container (with small air holes), browns (dried leaves, coffee grinds, saw dust), fruit and vegetable scraps (no meat or dairy products), and a little bit of water! This container will naturally breakdown your food waste and organic materials as long as you stick to using the right ingredients and turn the compost once a week!

3. Use your compost!
You can use the compost created by your container to grow plants, vegetables, and herbs to create your own food! If you don’t want to grow plants, feel free to donate your compost to a local organization or a nearby gardener!

Let us know how long you have been composting in our social media page!

Craving sushi but worried about the sustainability of seafood?

Miss your favorite fish, but can’t make the dish?

Don’t fear, we have a solution for you!

Here is a sustainable fish dish to satisfy your sushi cravings. This branzino (also known as Branzini, Mediterranean seabass, European seabass) ceviche is perfect for 2 people as a dish or for 4 people as an appetizer!

Ingredients:

– 1 lb Branzino filleted (use the freshest fish possible, if it smells fishy, don’t use it!)

– 1 to 1 1/2 tspn coarse kosher non-iodized salt (Note: use less salt if using fine salt)

– 4 to 8 ounces of lime juice

– 1/2 a small red onion

– 1 ounce of cilantro or micro cilantro sprouts (optional)

Instructions:

– chop the red onion into thin slices

– Dice the branzino into bite sized cubes

– Place the red onion slices and branzino into a bowl

– Add salt into the bowl and stir the mixture with a spoon. Stir well for 10-20 seconds

– Add the lime juice into the mixture

– Adjust the salt for taste

– top with cilantro

If you want to learn more about sustainable fish options, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium guide to seafood.

Water Campaign Friendships

Two years ago, Aquatic Society of Omaha from Nebraska and St. Roza from Uganda joined our 2017 Water Campaign. These two teams met each other through the Campaign as partner teams and learned about methods to improve water quality and water conservation efforts. During the Campaign, the two teams communicated a common interest in water conservation, food security, and improving sustainable agricultural efforts. Since first meeting each other, Aquatic Society of Omaha and St. Roza have collaborated on several environmentally focused projects and have kept in contact in future Campaigns. We’re happy to see our Campaign teams get along so well!

Continued Collaboration

These veteran Grades of Green Campaign teams have continued to participate in environmental efforts together- most recently in the Pollination Project. Aquatic Society of Omaha and St. Roza are committed to learning about modern agricultural practices in order to improve agricultural efforts, learn about water dynamics in soil, and improve sustainable resource usage. Both Aquatic Society of Omaha and St. Roza are working to improve awareness and solutions for water issues by researching the impact of water scarcity and by working on food growing units. By improving food growing aspects in incremental steps, the teams are improving water and quality by incorporating water testing and soil testing kits into food growing units while taking action on other agricultural measure. Other innovations include adding nets to the bottom of food growing units to prevent pests from attacking food roots and adding enriched soils to these kits.

Join the Water Campaign!

Want to join teams like Aquatic Society of Omaha and St. Roza in fighting water issues around the world? Feel free to join us in our next Water Campaign here!

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a great partner team to collaborate too!

Grades of Green’s First Waste Campaign a Major Success

This new Campaign included 80 teams from 77 cities and 13 countries. Collectively, Grades of Green Waste Campaign teams diverted over 229,000 pounds of waste (114 tons) from the landfill and educated over 25,000 leaders and community members around the world! These numbers will continue to grow as the student teams expand on their waste reduction projects.

We are proud to announce the 2019 Spring Waste Campaign Finalist Campaign Teams, who achieved exceptional results. Please watch and share their campaign videos to get inspired by their innovative waste solutions.

Mira Costa High School (California)

Mira Costa’s team led 3 beach clean ups in their community during the month of March. They recruited volunteers by reaching out to their community through social media and local news outlets. The team educated participants about the effects of plastic and litter in our oceans and on our marine life. The result of the 3 beach clean-ups was about 250 lbs of trash; crushing their goal of 100 lbs. The team plans to continue hosting beach clean ups once per month. See their video HERE.

Human Environmental and Animal Rights Club at CAMS (California)

The HEAR Club at CAMS high school was driven by the knowledge that people, on average, throw out 70 lbs of clothes every year and that the textile industry is the second highest contributor of waste. This team hosted several used-clothing drives as well as workshops that taught others how to upcycle used garments. They exceeded their goal to collect 10 bags during the clothing drives by collecting 11 bags. Some clothes were donated and some were upcycled into new garments. See their video HERE.

Whitney High School (California)

At Whitney, the Waste Campaign Team members recognized that everyday a considerable amount of food waste was going to the landfill. By implementing a compost collection at lunchtime, the team collected about 30 lbs of food waste to put into their tumbler composter bin during the campaign. They continue to collect compostable scraps at lunchtime, educate the students and staff at their school and fundraise in order to buy a second (much needed) compost bin. See their video HERE.

Bridgeport Elementary School Green Team (California)

During the Waste Campaign, the Team working at lunch noticed the large number of good food items being thrown into the landfill bin. They were appalled, and wanted that food to go somewhere it could be eaten. The team decided they wanted to donate the food to the local Food Pantry and Homeless Shelter, and the Grades of Green mentors provided resources and guidance to help best put ideas into action. In order to raise awareness and encourage other schools in their community to start a Food Rescue program, Bridgeport shared their video and program with all the families at their school and with all the schools in their district. See their video HERE.

Daves Avenue Elementary School (California)

Daves Avenue uses approximately 12,000 crayons every school year and as the Waste Campaign students discovered, crayons do not break down well in the landfill. With a goal in mind of diverting 120 lbs of crayons from the landfill, the team joined the Crayon Initiative. The Crayon initiative recycles old crayons into new crayons and donates them to children’s hospitals. The team set up boxes to collect the crayons to send them in to get recycled. See their video HERE.

Bryant Ranch School Green Team (California)

The team of 30 students recognized their school was wasting a lot of paper. They analyzed one class per grade level to get an estimate of how much paper is used and wasted. They collected boxes that were filled up completely to sort out those that are only 1-sided to be used again. For the paper that could not be reused, they put 3 actions in place: 1. find a paper recycling agency to take the bulk paper goods 2. shred them for packaging at school and 3. turn scrap paper into art projects for classrooms, including origami, bookmarks, and paper mache. See their video HERE.

Boys and Girls Club at Towne Avenue Elementary (California)

The Boys and Girls Club at Towne Elementary estimated that 100 milk cartons are destined for the landfill from their school everyday. They learned that it takes about 5 years for a milk carton to break down in the landfill and wanted to start recycling cartons at their school. They educated all the students and staff and created a fun basketball game as a way to encourage students to recycle their cartons and have fun with it. See their video HERE.

Will Rogers Learning Community (California)

The team at Will Rogers recognized a huge issue at lunchtime: 25 bags of landfill waste everyday. With the help of a few dedicated parents, the team set up sorting stations at lunch to separate liquids, recyclables, organic waste, landfill and trays. Since implementing the stations, over the course of the Waste Campaign, they decreased lunch time landfill waste by 85 trash bags by implementing sorting stations. They also decorated recycling boxes for all classrooms to increase paper recycling on campus.

Deep Creek Middle School (Virginia)

This innovative team created a virtual “Escape Room” to inform students about tackling waste. Specifically focused on single use plastics. Along with the Escape Room, they implemented “Plastic Free Fridays” encouraging fellow students to replace single use items with reusable items. They had the opportunity to present to their school board about the excess waste created by the food provider, including wrapping oranges in plastic wrap! See their video HERE.

PSGR Krishnammal Nursery and Primary School (India)

Students at this school took food waste VERY seriously. This team made sure that all food on campus was eaten or composted. In addition, the school made presentations and a song to show the importance of not wasting food. They involved their entire community including all students, parents, administration, school board, and government representatives. The team also had goals to limit plastic, reduce all waste going to the landfill – not just food waste, and to store food properly to reduce spoiled food.

Meadows Elementary (California)

This team made a series of “how to” videos that taught their fellow students and community how to reduce waste, pack trash free lunches, and how to properly sort their waste at lunch. They also added on the Food Finders program so that any unopened cartons of food or beverages or unpeeled fruit could be donated to local families in need of food. The students have been dedicated to educated staff, administration, and parents through their “how to” videos. See their video HERE.

Bottega Delle Arti Creative (Italy)

Like to dance? Bottega Dance School has made public performances to educate others about Rome’s environmental issues and infrastructural problems. The main issue the high schoolers focused on was overflowing garbage bins throughout the city. Along with their innovative video, they have presented the problem through conferences and art exhibitions. See their video HERE.

Hughes Green Team (California)

The Hughes team found that the use of single-use condiment packets was a big waste issue on their campus. The packets end up becoming litter and often ends up in the ocean. The students prepared a proposal for the LBUSD Nutrition Services Department to switch from single-use condiment packets to sauce dispensers. They met with their district’s Nutrition Services Manager to discuss the solution even further!

Feeling inspired?! Join Grades of Green for our 2019 Fall Water Campaign here. And stay tuned for an update on the new theme for our Campaign teams!

The Grunion Gazette featured Grades of Green and the Waste Campaign!

Communications Contractor Justin addresses the importance of environmental education in his interview with the Grunion Gazette by stating:

“When students take the lead and pursue environmentally conscious projects, it really encourages people and other students to do more projects like this.”

Students in Grades of Green’s Waste Campaign have an opportunity to not only learn about waste issues, but to do their own research to see what they can do to improve their own environment. Long Beach Grades of Green Mentor Cathy states:

“This contest isn’t just calling for students to get out and pick up trash- that’s a good thing of course, but Grades of Green is trying to get young kids to think deeper about helping the environment.”

Read the full article HERE