With support from the Alcoa Foundation and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), the “Make an impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) energy conservation competition challenged eight schools to engage their teachers, administration and students to find energy savings. The Alcoa Foundation gave prizes to winning schools totaling $9,000 in Connecticut, Michigan, Texas and Washington.
The bigger picture is that 9,000 participants committed to taking actions in their daily lives that would save upwards of 20 million pounds of CO2 emissions. “The enthusiasm shown by these students was really awe-inspiring,” said Katie Mandes, Director of the Change Our 2morrow program. Mandes indicated that there is obviously a need for individual action if we’re to slow or reverse climate change.
The CO2 program engages people with educational tools and hands-on experience, and to date has engaged more than 100,000 individuals, and claims to have collectively identified more than 80 million pounds of greenhouse gas savings. There is an individual carbon calculator on their website that has tips, tools and resources on how to reduce energy use (and your electric bill).
The key, according to the Alcoa website, is that the competition really engages people to outdo each other on reducing their impacts. This gamification is an undeniably effective strategy to tap into people’s natural competitiveness and turn their efforts toward something beneficial to everyone.
The C2ES is a non-profit organization that promotes policy and action on energy and climate change issues. It’s the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S. and has invested over $550M in the last 60 years. Alcoa itself has a Month of Service program, which helped plant 34,000 trees last year (in addition to many other service efforts).
Photo courtesy Argonne National Laboratory on Flickr Creative Commons