Thousand Oaks High School, the second school we were able to visit while in the area, was a school with a great recycling program and a well cared for native plant habitat. What really impressed us, though, was their incredible creativity and ability to come up with new sustainable ideas! The group of high schoolers, being one of the few groups we've worked with over the age of 11, were a relatively quiet bunch throughout most of the workshop. Granted its pretty easy to seem quiet compared to a large group of 5th graders, but we were really surprised when it came time for them to brainstorm ideas and execute them on camera.
We have a slew of excellent ideas from them with a handful of really novel ones we've never heard before! Let's start with the novel...
One of the students must have been remembering her days as a fidgety child trying to sit still at a desk for long periods of time. So how about putting pedals under desks for any kids that need to move their legs before it's time to stand up. This way, the ancy child can release his anxiety to move and the class could potentially generate a little power from the cycling motion.
I witnessed another student spend 5 minutes trying to convince her group that growing and eating bugs was a good idea. Eventually they gave in and put it down on the poster. It's true! The United States is in the 20% of the world that doesn't eat bugs... consciously anyways. It requires much less land space to produce the same amount of biomass in crickets than in beef. Same goes for water use, amount of feed needed, and emissions contributed. In every single category, bugs are by far a more sustainable protein source. Now we just need to want to eat them... It just so happens that there are companies starting up to provide insect-based proteins to the 20% in familiar and desirable food products. Even though were currently sponsored by Clifbars, maybe in the future we'll be sponsored by cricket bars.
A third idea we haven't heard before is appropriate for the season. A lot of waste is generated from the holidays which by default adds an extra layer of packaging to any product or gift... wrapping paper. One of the students wants to see widespread sustainable wrapping paper. Maybe that means buying a paper that is sustainably harvested or maybe it means getting creative and giving something a second life such as newspaper or old maps. Either way she wants to see this holiday of love give a little love back to planet Earth.