Volume 6 Issue 1 | March 2018

Dear Friends,

Twelve years ago, frustrated by a sense of general apathy among adults regarding sustainability and environmental challenges, Dream in Green’s co-founders started the organization to harness and amplify the boundless creativity, enthusiasm and genuine desire of young people to take action for the environment. Dream in Green was founded on the belief that children are the most powerful catalysts of change within our society.

In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School, I’m reflecting on how this sentiment is proven time again. We have witnessed how students—armed with education and the painful realization of issues that impact them deeply—have taken impassioned, thoughtful and effective action to drive change.

It is critical we not lose sight of the radically different world in which today’s students are coming of age. It has been 19 years since the Columbine massacre that stunned our country and unveiled a new spate of unimaginable violence that has become appallingly commonplace. Similarly, it has been 21 years since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, the ground-breaking international treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions that brought terms like global warming into mainstream conversation and awoken our understanding of the need to take serious action to address this threat to our communities, economy and planet. 

These daunting challenges were largely not part of our collective psyche when most of us were growing up. Simply, students that are graduating high school today have never known a world free of these kinds of solvable, yet highly polarized issues that arguably affect their generation most acutely. Our job is to ensure students have the tools they need to learn how to forge solutions, consensus and opportunity where it could be possible to only see intractable problems. 

Student leaders whom have emerged from Douglas High have shared how their education prepared them for this very moment to speak up, pointing to debate classes where they learned to research and articulate their informed views. This is the hallmark and perhaps the most fundamental value of our education system, which is not about telling students what to think, but rather teaching students how to think critically. Ultimately, Dream in Green’s programs aim to equip our young people with the knowledge, tools and behavior changes that will begin to shift the frame in which our society views environmental and climate change challenges. Through education, we endeavor to empower our youth to see their role in shaping and flourishing in a society that functions differently, preparing them to take part in the innovations and novel types of work that will be possible through our response to one of the greatest challenges of our generation—climate change.

Indeed, action big and small that is about creating change is underway. In January, through Dream in Green’s partnership with FDOT Florida Commuter Services, more than 700 students participated in SchoolPool and traveled to and from school using an alternative mode of transportation, opening students’ eyes to the fact that cars are not the only way to move. This month, more than 20 high school student teams created video public service announcements giving voice to the plight of the Everglades through our Phosphorus Challenge , created through a partnership between Dream in Green and the Everglades Foundation. The top videos will soon be open for public vote to determine the three winning teams, so stay tuned. 

Change is not always a giant leap forward, but a series of many small steps taken over and over again. These are the kinds of simple actions that build students’ pride and habit in becoming the change-makers for our planet. 
They aren’t giving up. We trust you won’t either.  

In solidarity,
Lauren Ordway
Executive Director 
Recycle Across America’s standardized labels for recycling bins are helping schools save hundreds of thousands of dollars in trash hauling fees.
Alexa Green, Recycle Across America
Right now, recycling is often presented in a confusing and inconsistent way. The millions of different looking recycling bins and labels throughout society make recycling seem disheveled and inefficient and this leaves the public feeling apathetic and skeptical about the effectiveness of recycling programs. Seven years ago, founder Mitch Hedlund started the 501(c)3 non-profit, Recycle Across America and introduced the society-wide standardized labels for recycling bins and celebrity led Let’s recycle right!® PSA campaign to combat the issue of confusion at the bin and help make it easier for everyone, everywhere to recycle right.
The standardized labels are now being used in the State of Rhode Island, Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, Orlando International Airport, the National Parks, and in over 6,000 K-12 schools across the country. They were even used on recycling bins during this year’s Super Bowl - the first zero-waste Super Bowl with a 90% diversion rate! Our goal is not only to get this solution farther and faster, but more importantly to help students (the next generation of leaders and changemakers) recycle right and act on their good intentions!

The power of the bulb
Ben Weinstein, Facilities Design + Sustainability
Miami Dade County Public Schools
Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) is committed to reducing energy consumption in our buildings as both responsibility to tax payers and sustainability. Our approach to sustainability is constantly improving working closely with our consultants and industry available products to shape and implement energy and resource efficiency in our buildings. One of our foci is lighting energy efficiency which is the second largest energy consumption in schools, approximately 15% of the total energy use.
As one of our initiatives started during our current General Obligation Bond (GOB), we have fully committed to changing our lighting standard to choose Light Emitting Diodes (LED) for all of our new construction, renovations/remodeling, and maintenance upgrades to existing buildings. LEDs are for the most part replacing T8 or T12 or compact fluorescent light fixtures, which is the State standard for schools. Our goal is to systematically replace all lighting in the District to LED. The primary benefit to utilizing LEDs is that they use approximately 30-80% energy less energy !  

Resilience strategies that work

Zach Bamman, Energy Efficiency Manager
Miami Dade County Office of Resilience
Buildings play an important role in Miami-Dade County’s resilience efforts. For this reason, the County has joined a national initiative to cut waste in large buildings and make American cities healthier and more prosperous through energy and water efficiency. The Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience has teamed up with Miami-Dade County’s Water and Sewer Department to launch Building Efficiency 305 (BE305), a locally tailored plan to significantly increase the energy and water efficiency of our existing large private and public buildings. The goals of the program aim not only to expand economic resilience, but to reduce climate pollution, increase the resilience of our buildings, energy and water infrastructure, as well as address long-term climate change impacts such as sea level rise, heat waves, drought and flooding. 

NOAA's Students for Zero Waste Week 2018 is happening March 19th - April 20th!
K-12 s tudents and teachers are inviting their local communities to "Go Green and Think Blue" by joining them in the 6th annual  Students for Zero Waste Week   campaign. During this campaign, schools focus on reducing land-based waste in order to protect the health of local marine environments.

Other News

Join a global movement to switch off lights in solidarity with efforts to secure nature and curb climate change by participating in Earth Hour on March 24 from 8:30-9:30PM.

It’s time to #Connect2Earth.