climate-challenge-at-diamond-harbour-2.jpgThere is something truly inspiring about the enthusiasm of school kids, and there's no doubt, its really infectious.

My name is Dan and I have the fantastic job of promoting and coordinating Greenpeace's newest inter school fundraising / campaigning project. Its called the Greenpeace Climate Challenge and is designed to encourage and show young people about the solutions and benefits of moving towards a less carbon intensive lifestyle. I generally work as an on-street fundraiser and can't count the number of times adults have told me 'its the kids you wanna talk to'. It's true, after all its their World and this project is an opportunity to empower kids and reward them for a range of tasks from changing light bulbs to writing to local MPs. Changing society starts with individuals and issues like climate change can seem overwhelming, for young and old alike, that's why small changes deserve recognition and young people need to know their actions and opinions count. OK, what is this Climate Challenge? Basically its a sponsored carbon fast. Greenpeace have put together a list of tasks or activities in 4 categories (Travel/At school/At home/Getting Active)and produced them on a funky, colourful logbook. Each task has points allocated to it, relevant to its climate impact. Students look at the list and decide which tasks are achievable thus creating a points target. With this target they can then have a donations target and ask family/friends to sponsor them per point. This will spread awareness and encourage sponsors to make some changes too(did I mention how infectious youthful enthusiasm can be). All donations are split 50:50 with Gp and the school giving a focus for what we hope the school will use the money for- wormfarms, cfl bulbs, tree seedlings, solar hot water etc.

In these early stages we have had terrific response. Teachers love the idea of combining many elements of learning including English,maths,science,social studies with the increasing urgency of the need for climate action. We also provide some great resources like fact sheets,stickers and an interactive cd-rom full of worksheets, info animations, videos and much more, called Climate Changers and produced by teachers.

There is also a great website www.greenpeace.org.nz/theclimatechallenge that lets kids set up there own campaign page to show progress, write blogs, post pics and fundraise without cash handling. Its easy for them to promote their Challenge to family/friends anywhere by sending email links to their own page. In fact you could go there right now and sponsor any one of these super little eco-warriors here's an example from Joshua-10yrs

"I love saving the earth.I feel so good saving the planet.I have all ready done heaps of things in the climate challenge points page." from Joshua

What a legend!

If anyone -teachers, students, parents want their school to get involved let me know and check out the website, its really cool. 0212724044