The third cycle of the Going Green project concluded in June 2017. After an intensive election season and a school election project that was just as exciting, we anticipated a smaller but not less dedicated group of participants this spring for Going Green. And yet, 23 courses from Germany and the U.S. registered their own Moodle courses and some more participated with our offline materials collection.
The Going Green jury met in early June 2017 to review the student competition entries and awards prizes to seven green action plans in four categories. We are grateful to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin for supporting these student projects once again with monetary prizes intended to kickstart and continue these green projects. These projects all propose unique approaches to promoting sustainability, but they also highlight individual agency and the contributions that each and every one of us can make to combat climate change. In so doing, these students embrace the concept of environmental stewardship aimed at making changes in their communities.
Here are the award winning projects from 2017:
Class 12 English at Luise Henriette Gymnasium Oranienburg, Brandenburg, with their teacher Jens Rösener.
We created an app which includes 10 stations with QR-Codes, which all deal with sustainability at our school. Our class tried to identify how 'green' our school actually is. We set the priority to raise students' awareness of green issues and wanted to create something that future generations of students could benefit from. Therefore, we developed a QR-Code Rallye that students from class 8 have already put into practice. From the next school year onwards, new students in class 7 will get the chance to use our app as well.
“COMPREHENSIVE SUSTAINAINABILITY SCHOOL PROJECT” (PRIZE MONEY 500€)
Class 11 BG-W at Saalburschule Usingen, Hessen, with their teacher Gisela Wildermuth.
The focus of our school’s “Going Green” project was to reduce our community’s environmental footprint through hands-on activities:
Through all these activities and supplemental reading, we developed a better understanding of the impact our own behavior has on the environment, and took action to reduce our ecological footprints.
- We raised awareness of the detriments of using plastic in and around our school and took the responsibility of advising and teaching about recycling points in our buildings.
- Another activity to going green was planting bee-friendly flowers around the school. We created posters to inform other students about the purpose of our activity.
- We researched and came up with solutions on how our school could save money and reduce the waste of natural resources by slightly modernizing the school’s heating system.
- We looked at the impact that transportation has on the local environment and pointed out strategies to reduce air pollution.
“SCHOOL-BASED RECYCLING CONCEPT” (PRIZE MONEY 500€)
Class FOSP1B at Berufskolleg Höxter, Nordrhein-Westfalen, with their teacher Dagmar Knies.
We set up a container to collect one-way deposit and refilling containers and designed a poster with relevant information.
Problem. At our school, many students simply leave their drink containers in classrooms or even throw them into the bins for general garbage. This means that the deposit for these containers is lost and that they cannot be reused or recycled, which means environmental harm.
Solution. We put up a container for reusable and recyclable drink containers at a central point in the building. We designed a poster showing how to dispose of bottles and cans. It also describes the German deposit system and environmental effects. We also designed a short informational text for other students to raise additional awareness and explain our idea. If this container is a success, we plan to put up more containers in central areas.
Practice. We need to raise awareness and acceptance. People shouldn't throw their garbage into our container, for example. We also need to talk to the cleaning staff, because they are the ones who collect all the drink containers from all over the building.
“SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT PRIZE” (PRIZE MONEY: 1,000€)
Classes 5c, 8a, 8b, and 9a at Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen, Baden-Württemberg, with their teachers Eva Gold, Sarah Garman, Sabine Kroiss, Sonja Sachs, Bettina Schönherr, Stefanie Schulze, and Michael Widinger.
This year marked the third time that students from Schubart-Gymnasium in Aalen participated in our Going Green competition. Four courses developed three different action plans to ‘go green.’ All of them are integrated into a school-wide curriculum focusing on education for sustainable development that is currently being developed by teachers representing different school subjects as well as external partners like Aalen Technical University. The jury applauds this integrative approach and decided to award these groups a joint prize for their collective efforts.
Project 1: Students of classes 8a and 5c joined forces for their upcycling project. They collected old clothes at their school and used these materials to create ‘owl pillows’ that they are planning to present and sell at their upcoming school festival. Grade 8 students also visited their younger partners during class and gave presentations on climate change.
Project 2: Class 8b focused on the issue of recycling plastic and reached out to their art teacher to create sculptures made from plastic trash. They identified plastic bottles as one major type of trash on their school campus and created a poster campaign to educate their fellow students about the consequences of plastic pollution – and ways to combat this development.
Project 3: Class 9a, like their fellow students, realized that change for sustainability requires creative and educational approaches. Participating in our competition for the third time, the students have developed a program to train student sustainability ambassadors. One component of this ambassador program is that older students reach out to local primary schools and educate them about green issues.
Certificate of appreciation
Class 10c at Humboldt Gymnasium Potsdam, with teacher Silke Meyfarth.
It´s a rap-song about why you should use your bike or public transport instead of your car.
We divided our class in four groups, every group worked on one of the four Going Green Projects. The group that treated transportation was chosen as the best group, so their final result was uploaded here.
The problem that the group identified was that many young people are too lazy to go by bike or public transport, so they let their parents drive them by car. That is a big problem, because it causes much air pollution. And often the distance could easily be driven by bike or public transit.
To approach this, the group wrote a song. Many young people like rap music and also the beat of the song is a instrumental version of a really popular rap-song. Our intention was that many people would remember the song's melody. With the lyrcis of the song, the group wants to motivate teenagers to go by bike or use public transport. It´s necessary that this song gets popular, so that many people hear it and think about the meaning of its lyrics. (The music of the song is the instrumental version of "Palmen aus Plastik" made by "Bonez MC" and "RAF Camora".)
The students of class FOSP1B, together with their teacher Dagmar Knies, were invited to the Northrhine-Westphalia Landtag where they received their prize money of EUR 500 from U.S. Consul General Keller and member of parliament Matthias Goeken MdL.
Congratulations to the students at Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen on their 1st prize in this year's Going Green school competition. U.S. Consul General Herman handed the award of EUR 1,000 to the students and held a town hall meeting with over 200 students about German-American relations.
The Teach About US team and our partners congratulate all participants and competition winners!
Marilena Peters has been pursuing her B.A. in teaching Social Studies with a geographical focus and English as a Foreign Language at Leuphana University Lüneburg since 2015. After finishing her studies with a Master’s degree, Marilena intends to teach at an elementary school.
'Going Green – Education for Sustainability' is an intercultural blended-learning project that engages students on both sides of the Atlantic in interdisciplinary project work on English as a foreign language, American studies, environmental and political science. The annual project is part of the Teach About US platform developed by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Leuphana University Lüneburg, and LIFE e.V. Since the pilot project in 2014, over 2,500 participants in Germany and the U.S. have participated in four project cycles and have produced over 50 green action plans to implement sustainable development in their local communities. Going Green is a proud recipient of the Germany – Land of Ideas Award 2015.