Fighting for Clean Water!

The 2018 Water Challenge is well under way. The student-led challenge provided an opportunity for students to brainstorm solutions to reduce water usage and improve water quality. Given the different climates, cultures, issues affecting each school, this year’s Water Challenge has led to an incredible number of ideas. Over 40 schools, from California to Uganda, are participating this year.

About the Water Challenge

The Water Challenge is comprised of 4 parts:

– Creating a Grades of Green Team

– Creating a plan to reduce water usage and completing the Water Challenge Forms

– Teaching others about your plan to reduce water usage

– Creating a video about your findings actions and submitting the Water Challenge Forms

Introduction Videos

In addition, schools were asked to submit videos introducing their school to the other Water Challenge Schools! We compiled these introduction videos so that everyone can see a few of the schools participating! Check out the video here!

Join Us!

If you’re interested in joining a global community of schools, join us in the Water Challenge next semester! In the meantime, you can participate in any of the Grades of Green Activities here!

New Record!

Mott Hall III and Ms. Moe had no trouble implementing their Waste Sorting Station activity! This amazing school in the Bronx in New York accomplished so much in no time. In only two weeks, the Grades of Green Team students reduced their weekly lunch time trash from 100 bags to a record breaking low of 50 bags!

How Did They Do It?

The Middle School Grades of Green Team at Mott Hall III were incredibly organized and assigned students to oversee recycling during lunch times during the week. They even expanded their team to oversee breakfast times at the school. Moreover, these leaders made sure that other students knew why recycling was important.

“It’s important to let others know the ‘Why’ to the ‘How’,” one Grades of Green Team Student said.

In addition to educating others, the Student Leaders used their “can do” New Yorker attitude and stopped others from throwing away recyclable waste.

“When other students threw away recyclable waste, we told them, ‘here are some gloves and pick that out, the recycling bin is right here’.” another Grades of Green Student said.

Want to Reduce Waste? Follow these Tips!

Mott Hall III’s Grades of Green Team wanted to share these tips to help other schools reduce their waste.

1.) Connect the “Why” and the “How” to promote understanding.

2.) Use positive reinforcement to get other students excited about recycling.

3.) Color Code bins so that people can easily see where to place their waste.

4.) Be assertive about education. Don’t be afraid to speak out when you see environmental injustice!

5.) Be nice to the custodian. They are working hard to sort waste!

The Straw Free Movement

Bas Les Pailles, a non-governmental organization in France, is preparing to launch the first ever International Straw Free Day! International Straw Free Day falls on February 3rd. Organizations in over 20 different countries have already to agreed to go straw-free in solidarity with Bas Les Pailles. Be a part of this global movement to stop straws from sucking!

Say No to Straws

In the United States of America alone, consumers use 500 million straws daily. In France, consumers use 8 million straws daily. Straws are difficult to recycle and are often thrown into landfills. Moreover, aquatic animals are especially susceptible to straws as they can suffocate on plastics while feeding. Straws are usually not necessary in our daily lives, so why should we continue to use them?

How to Help

On February 3rd remember to say “no straw please” when ordering your drink! If you need to use straws, invest in a reusable straw! Let restaurants, cafes, and bars know that you’re not interested in straws! Visit Bas Les Pailles to learn more about plastics and join the cause to reduce straw and plastic waste!