Grade 10s Take Action!
The goal of these actions projects is to allow students to learn about climate science and apply their knowledge by taking actions against the causes or effects of climate change. We break the class up into smaller groups which allows the students to focus on topics of their choice. It has become a part of the grade 10 course and with or without funding, we find ways to take action. Although this post will highlight those projects done during the Spring 2022 ON Climate Change Youth Action Series, our website will include those project done independently of the seminars.
Spring 2022 Youth Actions include:
Our first group wanted to raise awareness of the impacts of fast fashion on climate. They collected gently used clothing from families at our school and hosted a Yardsale for Climate during our town’s local community yardsale, to promote alternatives to fast fashion and to save clothes from going into the landfill. After the yardsale, remaining clothes were shared with our school in a fashion swap where students could come and update their wardrobe with new pieces. Finally, we were able to donate clothing to a family in need who was new to our community.
Our second group wanted to raise awareness about deforestation and the role it plays in climate change. They created a presentation for a grade 8 class at our feeder school where they taught the students about the causes and impacts of deforestation and then gave them a chance to take action, by planting mini pollinator gardens to help offset some of the lost carbon sinks and to create more resources for our important pollinators. On top of this, they used their social media platforms to help raise awareness at our school by making TikToks that spread the word and reached their peers.
Our third group wanted to learn more about what their peers know and think about climate change and see if it really was something that would cause climate anxiety. They interviewed a series of people of all ages who shared their thoughts and experiences with respect to climate change. As a highlight, they were able to interview a local climate advocate with the Youth Climate Lab in Ottawa and got some real great feedback and insight from someone working in the field at the moment. They documented their research and created a website to share what they learned about climate anxiety and the impacts on our mental health.
Finally, our last group wanted to tackle the double issue of plastic pollution and the impacts that degrading plastic pollution will have on climate change. They spent much of their time trying to develop an alternative to the plastic straw. Their goal was to create a paper straw that contained chia seeds so that they could also be planted and used as food or as another carbon sink. Although they struggled to get a perfect working prototype, they learned a lot about the design thinking process and were able to pitch their idea to our Learning for Sustainable Futures ‘Shark Tank’ panel.
Reflection & Celebration
The Yardsale for Climate collected and redistributed about 150 items of clothing in total. Through the community yard sale, they connected with approximately 40 members of our community and raised about $50.00 in funds from their yard sale. That profit will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross in support of victims of the ongoing crisis in Bangladesh with regards to extreme weather events and flooding. When the remaining clothing was opened up to our student body in a clothing swap style lunch event, approximately 40 students came and were able to find multiple pieces to spruce up their wardrobes. Finally, much of the remaining pieces that were in good shape were donated to a family of new Canadians in our community that were just getting on their feet in their new home. Their individual reflections can be found at Thrifting for Climate Yardsale using the link below!
The Anti-Deforestation Nation presentation group connected with a class of 30 grade 8 students from our feeder school and reached out to a handful of other teachers and principals around our school board. Their social media accounts reached 255 people across 3 different platforms and had TikToks approaching 3000 views. Their individual reflections can be found using the link provided below!
The A Cognitive Climate Mental Health group connected with 30 followers and surveyed approximately 20 individuals. They were able to interview 6 people including Shaun Trainer, a climate activist at the Youth Climate Lab here in Ottawa. Their individual reflections can be found at the link below.
The Super Suckers Paper Straw group had a strong following on instagram with 126 followers and reached 213 different accounts on instagram. They had 56 of those accounts engage with their content. They also connected with the ‘LSF Sharks’ and an art teacher here at our school who was able to help show them how to make paper in a really cool opportunity to combine art, science and youth action. Their individual reflections can be found at the link below!