I’ve been working with group of enthusiastic parents in our neighbourhood over the past year on a plan to make our local elementary school a prototype for low-energy buildings. As our discussions evolved, we ended up with a much more ambitious vision: to use the building and grounds of the school for renewable power generation projects (using solar, and geothermal energy) that could potentially power many of the neighbouring houses and condos – i.e. make the school a community energy hub. And of course, engage the kids in the whole process, so that they learn about climate and energy, even as we attempt to build solutions.
In parallel with our discussions, the school board has been beefing up its ambitions too, and has recently adopted a new Climate Change Action Plan. It makes for very interesting reading. I like the triple goal: mitigation, adaptation and education, largely because the last of these, education, is often missing from discussions about how to respond to climate change, and I firmly believe that the other two goals depend on it. The body of the report is a set of ten proposed actions to cut carbon emissions from the buildings and transportation operated by the school board, funded from a variety of sources (government grants, the feed-in tariff program, operational savings, carbon credits, etc). The report still needs some beefing up on the education front, but it’s a great start!