Let's go Zero!
Our goal is to help schools become Climate Neutral Now
Over the course of the last ten years One World has built up a global learning community that operates in 200 classrooms in 10 countries around the world. One of the important goals of our global network is to help students from across the world come together to learn with and from one another. The hope is that by bringing youth together to address global issues we will be able to begin to help build global solutions to global challenges.
One issue that is in obvious need of a global solution is climate change. Over the course of the last several years, One World has worked closely with the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help schools reduce and offset their carbon emissions through a program the UNFCCC calls Climate Neutral Now.
Indeed, we were thrilled when the Port Chester School District became the first school district in the United States to work with the UNFCCC to become Climate Neutral Now.
Building on that success One World working with the UNFCCC has issued a four country, 100 school challenge, where we are encouraging youth, educators and environmentalists to come together to encourage 100 schools in four countries to become Climate Neutral Now. The four countries are China, Mexico, Wales and the United States.
Here in the US, building on Port Chester’s success, One World has partnered with Westchester County government to encourage every school in Westchester to become Climate Neutral Now. In addition, here in Westchester, One World and Westchester County government are partnering with the UK based Let’s Go Zero campaign to encourage Westchester schools to sign a second pledge encouraging schools to make every effort to become carbon neutral by 2030.
We are thrilled to report that the Elmsford School District became the first school district in the US to sign that dual pledge on Earth Day of this year. The Earth Day event which was run by Elmsford’s environmental club brought together Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Elmsford’s Superintendent of Schools Marc Baiocco among other county educational and governmental leaders.
One of the important rational of the Let’s Go Zero campaign is to involve youth directly in solving the climate change challenge. To that end, One World is working with Westchester County to encourage Westchester youth to come together in an effort to help Westchester County become recognized as Green County USA.
In recent weeks, One World working with committed youth environmental leaders has begun to pull together a county-wide youth team that will not only encourage Westchester schools to sign the dual pledge but just as importantly bring together environmental clubs, environmental educators and environmental leaders from across the county to share best practice.
Every school in Westchester County teaches environmental science. How often do educators break out of their educational silos to share best practice? How often do those environmental classes break out of their classroom to work with their local municipal sustainability committees to begin to put in place real world environmental solutions?
Our goal here is to help Westchester students become among the most Eco Literate students in the nation by tapping into the extraordinary educational resource we have here in Westchester County by sharing best practice across schools and school districts. To that end we will be organizing a best practice educational conference in Westchester in coordination with Climate Week NYC which will take place from September 20 to September 26. We are tentatively targeting Saturday September 25th and Sunday September 26th for this event.
Our hope is that Westchester youth actions can become a model for the world. Indeed, one goal for this conference will be to share best practice youth environmental experience with students from around the world as well as from Westchester.
Our hope is that this conference will be keynoted with videos from the two most powerful climate change people on Earth, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and UK Climate Change Champion Nigel Topping.
All of this work will serve as a run up to the all-important COP 26 conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1 to November 12, 2021. We will organize educational events here in Westchester to coincide with COP 26 much of which we expect will be virtual.
Volunteers Needed for Youth-led Initiative
There are a number of ways you can help us move forward on this ambitious climate change agenda.
Team of Investigators: Who is in the room?
First and foremost we need to figure out who is in the room? We need to compile a list of environmental, green clubs in Westchester County. That means we need to undertake to contact each and every school district in Westchester County to find out what they are doing on the environmental front. We will need a team of volunteers that can help us track down this information.
Social Media Team
Promote this ambitious effort over social media.
Conference Organizing Team
Pulling off a successful conference will require a lot of work. We will need to set up a team to begin to organize the conference.
Dual Pledge Support Team
We will need a team to encourage Westchester schools to sign the dual pledge and help them do that. This team will undergo training in how to use the UNFCCC calculator.
Green County USA: Westchester
Climate Neutral Now Resources
The Path to Climate Neutrality: The Basics for Schools. View the United Nations Climate Change Global Action Plan
Using the GHG emissions calculator
In continuation of The Path to Climate Neutrality: The Basics for Schools. Learn more about the emissions calculator and how to use it.