by Lynn and Corey
Remember when a huge auditorium wasn’t big enough to contain your passion and enthusiasm? If you’ve lost some of that, time to find it again. And the best place to look could be toward young people like Erin Schrode, 20, Project Green Challenge program director and co-founder of Teens Turning Green.
Erin, along with her mother, TTG founder and executive director Judi Shils, and 15 TTG interns from around the country spent the last four months developing the concept for Project Green Challenge, an online initiative that seeks to engage high school and college students across the country and inspire them to transition “from conventional to conscious,” via a 30-day green lifestyle challenge.
So if you live with teens or young adults, or know some, encourage them to join the the fun and live Project Green Challenge’s tagline, “from conventional to conscious in 30-days.” This is something that could impact them (and ultimately the planet), for the rest of their lives
1. What sorts of steps are included? Which ones do you expect students will jump into and which will be a little less likely for them to initiate?
Each of the thirty days will have a theme, ranging from water to organic food, energy to personal care, sustainable apparel to exercise, recycling to advocacy, and much more. Some are very specific, take organic cotton for an example — delving into the environmental and social consequences of the plethora of products we use daily that are made from cotton. The home/dorm/space challenge is multifaceted and takes a more holistic approach, encouraging people to assess their surroundings and its many elements.
Advocacy is much more meta—a mindset shift. So we have a wide range of themes and entry points, which we hope will appeal to the masses. No matter what your interest, background, focus in life, there are Challenges that will have specific relevance. Some, like healthy food or switching from single use to reusable items, are familiar topics, top of mind, in the media—and therefore may be more easily embraced, while others will be entirely new, venturing into uncharted territories. Both of those options excite us and our audience!
There will be a “green challenge” that participants are asked to complete, with specifics tasks/actions/deliverables. If people want to delve deeper, there are daily “greener” and “greenest” levels, with prizes to incentivize engagement. After the 30 days, participants will have the chance to apply for the Challenge Finals, a two-day fun and educational eco extravaganza in San Francisco in December. Ten will then be selected and flown to SF, receiving great prizes packages and the chance to interact with and hear from esteemed leaders and competing for the grand prize as Challenge champion. Prize info is on our website, if you want to take a look.
2. How did you come up with the challenges? Were students included in putting them together?
I led a team of fifteen interns this summer, working tirelessly to develop challenges based upon what was relevant and interesting to our demographic: high school and college students. We had a ball dreaming up ideas and refining them! We have not merely had input or approval in the process, rather we have been leading it every step of the way, in collaboration with leading experts in the each of the fields. This is a true collaboration, and forging partnerships with NGOs, media outlets, and corporations/businesses has been integral to our success. We tap into all of those vast knowledge and content bases, so as to not reinvent the wheel. Project Green Challenge is of youth, by youth, for youth — that you can be sure of!
3. What kind of lasting impact do you expect the challenge to have?
I want to shift the mindset of my generation, to be that spark, the impetus that spurs a transition from conventional to conscious. I know from personal experience with my friends that when a person starts thinking critically, begins to incorporate green and ethical practices into the everyday, it extends into all aspects of one’s lifestyle, school, community, etc. You can’t stop!! This is what I dream of — a world of conscious citizens who speak up, speak out when they see injustice, and are active in bringing about the change that we so desperately need in our world. I have faith in my peers; if we establish patterns of responsibility now, as the future consumer base, voting block, industry leaders, parents, and more, we can shift the paradigm.
Project Green Challenge is powered by Natracare. Lead sponsors include Whole Foods Market, Nature’s Path, The Container Store, Seventh Generation, Replenish, Kejriwal, Steelcase and Swisspers with support from Juice Beauty, Burt’s Bees, PeopleTowels, Annie’s, and New Leaf Paper.
Non Profit Partners: 350.org, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Cradle to Cradle Institute, Eco to Go, Ecomom Alliance, Environmental Media Association (EMA), Fair Trade USA, Global Action Through Fashion, Green Schools Initiative, Green Chamber of Commerce, Healthy Child Healthy World, Non GMO Project, NRDC, One Young World, Pesticide Watch, The Lunch Box, The Schoolbag, Women’s Voices for the Earth
Media Partners: Coco Eco Magazine, DrGreene.com, EcoFabulous.com, EcoMom.com, EcoStiletto.com, GoodGuide.com, Gorgeously Green, GretaGuide.com, Natural Health Magazine, PracticallyGreen.com, TakePart.com
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.