Environmental stewardship refers to the responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.
Youth, who are aware of the issues and who are empowered to take action at an early age, are more likely to cultivate these responsible habits and actions into adulthood.
Environmental stewardship involves fostering the development of several core values and beliefs. The actions of people can have impacts both locally and globally. For youth, it is also important that they understand their future role as stewards of the land.
Students lead the way to making change in their school by assessing/auditing their school and finding out what kinds of behavioural and sometimes structural or organizational changes would increase environmental conservation. For example students might notice that lights are being left on in their school when now one is in the classroom and will develop a project/campaign to get people to start turning them off, along the way they work their building operator to find out what kind of lighting is installed and may propose a lighting upgrade to all or parts of the school if required.
We work with the building operations in each school district to track savings over the course of a year. An example of the environmental benefits that another school district realized were reductions of 248,138 kWh which is a GHG savings of 175 metric tons of CO2 in six participating schools in one year by tracking the electrical savings associated with behaviour change in those schools.
The behaviour change and attitudes experienced at school are often included or transferred to homes of participating students. This broadens the impact of change to communities.
Over the past 15 years, with the support of 2,500 volunteers and 3,200 teachers, we’ve facilitated more than 635 school teams, in 40 school districts in B.C. and Alberta to develop more than 200,000 student leaders who implemented over 4,000 projects.
In one school year, this program avoided 2,249 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by saving 17,000 gigajoules of natural gas and 3.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity --- enough to power over 325 homes for a year.
On average, participating schools saved 204 GJ of natural gas and 28,272 kWh of electricity.
In Calgary, participating schools saved the school district operating dollars that were so significant that a new department was created with staff to implement ongoing sustainability initiatives.
Engaged communities of experts, businesses and households to mentor student leaders and produce exciting and relevant projects that are sustainable.