I started off by giving examples to explain what sustainability was and the difference between renewables (trees) and non-renewables (oil and gas). Then I shared with them how not using electricity when doing everyday tasks will save money and energy for their parents who pay the bills, along with our environment for all of us.
So, how did they wake up this morning was my first test...
"Alarm clock! My cell phone!", were the prevailing answers.
"Oh, an alarm clock that is plugged in and using electricity?"
"Yes," was the answer with a disappointed tone.
Then came, "Wait! My cell phone uses a battery!"
"Oh," I responded. "Do you plug in your cell phone to charge the battery with electricity?"
Now at this point I believed that I was getting my lesson across... Not with fifth graders, because someone always has another answer.
"Wait! I don't have an alarm clock. My mom wakes me up every morning by screaming at me!"
I relented and stated that was a sustainable way to wake up. The teachers and parents with the students did enjoy that exchange very much. I then told the students about when I was their age and the Wind-Up alarm clock I used. None of them knew what a windup alarm clock was, I shared how I needed to be responsible for winding my alarm clock every night before going to sleep so I could get up for school. Quickly I suggested that perhaps they all can ask for a windup alarm clock for their birthdays and not use anymore electricity to wake up.
We then compared electric and gas operated lawn mowers to my push lawn mower. They all wanted to see my Youtube video called Mowing Down The Lawn. Perhaps their teachers will show them parts of the video in the classroom. I showed them a solar powered outdoor LED light, a hand coffee press, solar powered leaf blowers and weed whackers. We talked about how cable TV boxes and game boxes use electricity even when not on!
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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