One of our program’s activities concerns teaching youth how to make decisions in their daily lives that greatly affect the environment. We start small but try to explain to them the magnitude of an outcome when small actions add up.
To illustrate, we have an activity where we install LED light bulbs and regular light bulbs over the course of a few months. This is extremely relevant to the students because it is about something that they use on a regular basis: light. In the experiment, students realize the differences between using energy-saving light bulbs and non energy-saving light bulbs. Moreover, we get students to calculate the cost of the energy. This simple activity gets them to understand that actions that are good for the environment isn’t always more expensive. We get them to question assumptions and think critically on their own decisions.
We try to focus on examples that are relevant to them, so it often includes things that you can find around the house. As another example, we talk about cooking methods. In one of our sessions we were able to invite a few chefs to come to our classes and teach about cooking as it relates to the environment. They brought over a Fissler Vitaquick FIS5859 pressure cooker and demonstrated the energy that was saved from faster cooking times. We try to point to home appliances that usually lie around the house but it’s something that they rarely think about. We think pressure cookers were a good example to show how much energy is wasted if you leave a pot on the fire for a long time. Also, we showed them that using pressure cookers you can make more in a pot instead of cooking a bit at a time.
Not only that, food consumption actually plays a huge part in the environment so the students are learning more about food than just nutrition. The chefs taught them, for example, how a diet that is all meat causes more energy use than a diet that includes more greens. We illustrate how much energy is required to raise a cow, slaughter, and cook it and how much energy is required to make lettuce or broccoli. We’re very lucky to have invited Cook With Pressure chefs Patrick and Alex to our classrooms. They usually run seminars teaching people about food, cooking, and lifestyle choices surrounding food, so read more about them and their pressure cooker reviews at http://www.cookwithpressure.com. We always try to invite people to our sessions to teach the students about a variety of environmental topics so if you think you have something to teach, we encourage you to volunteer.
We make our lessons available online for reference purposes. One of our team members is currently gathering the materials and you can download them from our website once that’s finished. The materials include the LED light bulb activity and cooking activity as described here, as well as other educational resources about saving energy with appliances around the home. And you don’t need to check with us to use them either as they are copyrighted under a Creative Commons license.