Teaching Energy Savings in the Classroom
By John McMalcolm
If people want to build a sustainable future, it is essential that they inculcate green habits in their children as early as possible.
The younger children begin to develop environmental awareness, the likelier they will adopt green lifestyles when they become adults. Parents, teachers, environmental supporters and the government should work together to ensure that children will receive the best environmental education possible.
One of the easiest ways to introduce children to environmental protection is to teach them how to save energy.
Here are a number of things that teachers and utility companies can do to educate children about energy conservation:
Provide Effective Energy Conservation Lessons
Many schools across the country have included energy conservation lessons into their curricula.
In order for these lessons to be effective, teachers have to make sure they are age-appropriate. Younger children may not be able to understand environmental issues such as global warming and the depletion of energy resources, while older children are able to absorb more complex concepts.
As such, it is important for teachers to select lessons that suit their students' learning abilities.
One way to provide effective lessons on energy conservation is to seek advice from local utility companies.
These companies have experts who can offer valuable advice on how to save energy, and they can work with teachers to create energy conservation lesson plans.
Some of them, such as Clay Electric Cooperative in Florida and Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California, have energy-saving tips, lesson plans, classroom activity ideas, case studies and fact sheets on their websites. These materials can be used to teach children of all ages about energy conservation.
Organize Energy-Saving Seminars and Shows
Teachers can also help their students understand the importance of energy conservation by organizing seminars and shows.
They can invite experts to their schools to give interesting speeches or performances related to energy conservation. Some utility companies offer or sponsor programs that are specially designed to educate the public about the benefits of saving energy.
For instance, Wisconsin-based New Richmond Utilities sponsors an educational show called "Showdown at Conservation Canyon" to teach young students about energy conservation and renewable energy.
Lead by Example
Students look up to their teachers as role models, and they will be more energy conscious if they see their teachers making an effort to save energy. Simple actions such as minimizing the use of electrical devices and turning off computers when not in use can go a long way in instilling energy-saving habits in children.
Teachers can also come up with creative ways to make energy conservation more fun, such as conducting their classes in an electricity-free environment several times a week and keeping plants in their classrooms to improve air quality.
It is greatly beneficial to teach children how to save energy, because they can help spread the green movement by sharing their knowledge with their family members and friends.
Children can play a vital role in making the world a safer and better place, and the energy industry can be a force for good.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from environmental protection to reviews of baby products such as double strollers and educational toys.
UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC
The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.
While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.
"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."
The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.
- Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
- Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
- Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
- Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
- Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.
In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies.
Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”
Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society.
Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."
Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).
Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.