The Research and Advocacy Activity is a great way to spread awareness about an environmental issue. This Activity inspires and empowers a student to find an environmental topic of interest and educate their peers on the subject. A student can research whichever green topic they are passionate about, and then can advocate for change. As a student, you can make a difference in improving the quality of the environment through advocating for your passion.
ESTABLISH YOUR SCHOOL’S GRADES OF GREEN TEAM. Ensure that your school has established a Grades of Green Team to help implement this Grades of Green’s Activity and any other Grades of Green Activities your school takes on in the future.
SET GOALS AND START TRACKING. What do you want to accomplish by implementing Grades of Green’s Research and Advocacy Activity? Whether it’s setting a goal of the number of students involved or the amount of carbon emissions conserved, set a goal and begin tracking your progress so you know when it’s time to CELEBRATE! Record your starting baseline metrics before beginning so you know when you’ve accomplished your goal.
CHOOSE A TOPIC YOU ARE INTERESTED IN You can choose an environmental issue surrounding the ocean if you love to go swimming. Select a topic around nature if you love to go hiking and love the great outdoors. If you have any favorite animals that you care about protecting, you could choose an environmental topic related to conservation. If you care about the polar ice caps melting, you can choose a topic about how to prevent future sea level rise. You can educate your peers on deforestation, gardening, or pollution issue as well. There are so many other environmental topics to choose from. If you are unsure of an environmental issue that you could present on, do not worry! Check out the step below.
RESEARCH YOUR TOPIC Conduct some research on the issues that surround your local environment, or the global environmental today. See if there are any local issues that you would like to shed more light on. Once you have settled on a topic, then you can begin further research on that topic of your choice. When researching, make sure to use a well-known research source to have the most accurate and up to date information in your presentation. Websites ending in .org or .gov tend to have the most accurate information. You could also try Google Scholar for your research. Stay away from websites like Wikipedia for your research data. If you are still having trouble finding a topic, browse through the Grades of Green Activities to spark an idea! Additionally, check out this list of environmental issues for potential research topics. Past Grades of Green Students have researched and advocated about a variety of exciting topics like ocean pollution, the importance of bee populations, and more!
FIND RESOURCES Find fun facts, photos, and even videos about your topic that you want to share with your school. Check out Grades of Green's activities for more information on environmental issues and solutions.
DECIDE HOW AND WHERE TO ADVOCATE Think about who you want to advocate to. Your class? Your school? Your community? Next, decide how you want to spread awareness about your topic. You can make a poster and present it to your class, give a presentation to your school during an assembly, create a display case, or organize a lunchtime celebration! Utilize pictures to really capture your audience. Remember to be as creative as possible. Decide if you need a fundraiser to accomplish your environmental goal, and, if so, center your advocacy efforts around fundraising.
ORGANIZE YOUR RESEARCH Plan how you will demonstrate your research. Which facts will wow your audience and have them say, “Woah!”? Which pictures will jump out at the audience the most? Choose those types of facts and pictures for your presentation. Make sure your research will capture the attention of your audience and remember to keep it fun and informative! The more your audience knows about your environmental passion, the more they can aid in the cause, so try to educate your audience in the best way possible.
COORDINATE WITH THE ADMINISTRATION Plan a date and time with your school to advocate for your environmental issue. If you will be presenting to your class, consult your teacher to learn about the best date and time for your presentation. If you are putting up signs at your school, speak to the administrator or custodian in charge of the school hallways. If you are going to host a lunchtime festival with your topic as the theme, speak with the administrator in charge of school lunchtime activities. If you are writing to local leaders about your environmental issue, make sure that everyone has the correct contact information and a deadline.
ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CAUSE On the agreed upon day, share your research and inform your audience about what they can do to help and protect the environment. Speak with your peers and your school community about what they can do to help care for the environment. Have your audience sign a pledge board to make a difference.
MEASURE THE RESULTS Remember that goal you set earlier? How’d it go? How many students did you reach or how many gallons of water did you save, or how many trees did you plant, or how much waste did you divert? Measure the results of taking on Grades of Green’s Research and Advocacy Activity.
CELEBRATE AND SHARE YOUR RESULTS Congratulations! You completed Grades of Green’s Research and Advocacy Activity. You helped inspire and empower students to care for the environment, and the earth is just that much better off as a result! Email us the results you achieved, as well as any photos or videos of your completed Grades of Green Activity. Tag @gradesofgreen on social media so we can help share your story! Whether it’s “before/after” photos or videos showing how you took on the Activity or a shot of your Grades of Green Team in action, email your Advisor and tag us on social media so we can help shout it from the mountains on our website, e-newsletter, and social media. And don’t forget to also let your school community and city government know about your great and green accomplishments.
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE What can you do to make this Activity sustainable at your school next year and in the years to come? We suggest making Grades of Green positions permanent to continue this Activity for years to come. Before you head out for the next school year, choose a student or volunteer who will oversee the Research and Advocacy activity next year to make sure the legacy continues.
Benefit to Students
The Research and Advocacy Activity enlightens the students at your school about the impact of their environmental actions. Students will learn that actions spanning from the choice of food they eat to the method of transportation they use to attend school, all have an environmental impact! A student will learn how to conduct research and coordinate an environmental campaign as well.
Benefits to the Environment
Each topic carries a unique amount of benefits to the environment. For example, if you educate your school on ocean pollution, our waterways will be safer and cleaner, allowing marine animals to thrive. Or, if you educate your school on food choices, there may be more land available to feed the hungry. And, if you educate your school on deforestation, there may be more beautiful trees on this planet!
Cost savings will vary based upon the topic you elect to present on.