Victoria, BC - Grade 4 and 5 students at three capital region schools are being recognized as climate sustainability champions this month through the Cool It! Climate Leadership Training program.
The program, developed by the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA), aims to develop and empower young sustainability champions in BC schools. Through the program, grade 4-7 classes participate in an interactive workshop to build on students’ knowledge of climate change, followed by a four-week challenge to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint at home with their families. After four weeks, the reported actions are converted into measurable greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.
Congratulations to this year’s winning grade 4 and 5 classes at Selkirk Montessori (Victoria), St. Joseph Elementary (Saanich) and Macaulay Elementary (regional) schools.
“When it comes to reducing our community’s carbon footprint, young people definitely play an important role,” says Larisa Hutcheson, General Manager, Parks and Environmental Services at the Capital Regional District (CRD). “The Cool It! program is a great way for students to better understand how their household can reduce energy use and champion positive behaviour change at home and amongst their peers.”
The CRD sponsored 19 classrooms to participate in the program this spring, with an additional 10 workshops sponsored by the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria in their communities, for a total of 39 classrooms region-wide. During the challenge, 921 students committed to 16,995 actions that reduce energy and carbon emissions at home, which will result in a projected savings of 936 tonnes of CO2e annually, if continued for one year.
"Saanich is thrilled to see young people in our community taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint,” says Ting Pan, Manager of Sustainability at the District of Saanich. “With our ambitious targets to become a 100% renewable energy community by 2050, we need everyone to do their part and the leadership of our youth is critical."
Since its launch in 2017, more than 90 classes in the region have participated in the program, with support from the CRD and member municipalities. In that time, participating students have reported taking more than 17,000 actions.
“Over half of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, so we all need to find ways to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and shift to renewable heating in our homes, schools, businesses and institutions,” says Fraser Work, Director of Engineering & Public Works and the City of Victoria’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Empowering youth to take action and deliver energy and emissions improvements is a wonderful and inspiring example of student creativity and positive impact. Well done Cool It! program.”
In February, the CRD Board declared a climate emergency and aims to lead and support accelerated climate action across the region. According to the Province of BC’s Community Energy and Emissions Inventory, the capital region’s community emissions are more than 1.5 million tonnes of C02e.
For more information, visit www.bcsea.org/Cool-It.
Proud to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers, the CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at www.crd.bc.ca.
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Communications Supervisor, CRD Environmental Services