The 2018 Drawdown ACT program supported members in implementing top solutions to reverse global warming through green house gas reduction. Program participants worked with local businesses or their campus administration to implement one ofProject Drawdown's 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, which range from themes around impact of educating women and girls, or energy, among others.
Net Impact provided a toolkit to guide implementers, including:
- Details on the climate change solutions
- Tangible tactics on how to implement your solutions
- Ongoing personal coaching
- Guidance on how to track
Here's what folks did:
- Earth University: Respect Musiyiwa applied newly learned sustainability and added-value processes to his community in Africa. He taught neighbors, schoolkids, business people, and more how to plant and nourish trees and tea shrubs. Then, he trained local HIV/AIDS support groups on how harvest, process, and package the teas for sale - a way to generate a steady income for an often-ostracized population. He even held meetings with local supermarkets, securing their commitment to carry the social-good product. He is currently receiving support for this project from the Mastercard Foundation.
- Abuja Professionals, Net Impact Nigeria: My project involved hospitals, clinics and other health centres. Our goal was to convince owners of health institutions to start making use of obsolete equipment by selling them to manufacturers who would buy and refurbished. The energy used to manufacture a new equipment is more than that used to refurbish the same type of equipment. This will also enable them spend very little on equipment. Challenges were mostly on protocols to meet either the chief medical directors or to assemble all the staff to brief them on the importance of proper disposal of hospital waste and its importance in mitigating climate change effects. We had to remain persistent so as to achieve our goal.
- Penn State Smeal College of Business: This semester I gained insight into recycling habits of college students living in apartments and off campus. I spoke with realtor companies in the area and many said that it was too expensive to put another recycling shoot in and they did not see the payoff. However, out of 100 students that I surveyed, 91% said they cared about the environment, 32% said they or their roommates recycle, and only 11% said that recycling in their buildings was easy. I used the stipend to purchase cheap plastic bins for 50 students to put in their apartments to use for recycling. All 50 felt more inclined to recycle but still did not like having to take the extra time to bring it all the way to the basement and having to sort it. Unfortunately this was the extent of the study as the realtor companies were not that willing to work with us.
- Texas State University Undergraduate: At the Formula 1 Race in Austin, Texas with over 250,000 in attendance over the three-day event, we maintained the water stations to helping divert one-use plastic water bottles and food waste from landfills. We also went to see the onsite composting at the Circuit of the Americas. Texas State University had a Trade it up T-shirt day on campus where students could trade in different University or school shirts for a Texas State University shirt. We picked up the 1,700 T-shirts from this event and donated them to the underserved students of Phoenix Academy. We also established a sustainability business committee and group. Help set-up energy audits for local business
- The University of Texas at Austin - Engineering - Undergraduate: We reached out to the facilities management team for the University of Texas in order to find out what their refrigerant management policies are. They complied and got us the information we wanted. We were happy with what we were told, and decided to spread the word using flyers. Some building managers required we get their approval. We working with the Energy Stewards of the Energy Management and Optimization Program of UT Facilities Services. Some of the challenges we encountered involved finding the right LED replacements suitable for the retrofits and identifying feasible locations. We also are looking for ways to speed up the process and increase incentive to carry out LED replacements with savings justifications and environmental stewardship with student involvement. Currently, we are waiting for administrative approval but have garnered the attention of many undergraduates in the process. Additionally, dining halls at UT already have a composting option; however after sending out a survey, we confirmed our suspicion that students are confused about what food waste item goes where. Since there are already signs by the trashcans that SHOULD clarify how to organize the trash, we assume that people who are confused simply don't have proper motivation to learn. To solve this we are currently working to create a phone app game in which people practice putting their trash into the right bin by swiping specific food waste items (compostable plates, recyclable bottles/cans, etc.) into their respective bins. This game can be incentivized by offering rewards for food in the dining halls by reaching certain milestones (total number of correct choices, consecutive correct choice). We have worked with some of our electrical engineering student officers to begin the process of developing this app. The students working on the app have the ability to use their professors as a resource when working to create this app. We also plan to make an orientation video to inform incoming freshmen students on UT dining halls' food waste system. The main challenge we have come across that is yet to be resolved is getting in contact with UT administration. We have sent emails to UT's housing and dining department, as well as the student government. As we continue to make progress on our two ideas, we will begin scheduling meetings with UT administration to help us implement our ideas.
- Washington University in St. Louis Undergrad: We worked to update our reusable to-go boxes on campus and improve composting. Our campus has/had a reusable to-go box system for meals that has somewhat disappeared in the last year due to disuse. Our Dining Services dislikes the inconvenience and dishwasher space required of our current system and students struggled to find dining stations that even kept the reusable boxes in stock. We were promised a new to-go system that involves an Ozzi collection system and new reusable to-go boxes, that will hopefully be more convenient for workers and students, after talking to Dining Services and the Office of Sustainability, who was pushing for this update as well.We have encountered several delays as we need the collection machines to be able to communicate with our campus card system. We are getting a new reusable to-go system for a least one of our large dining halls. We also worked on a dorm composting project. Composting is currently only available on our campus in a few dining halls and nowhere else. We worked with the creator of the composting project to survey the people using a pilot composting system. We had problems collecting data due to lack of response, but we ultimately did survey a solid number of participants. The result was that we found out the composting collection bins were too small as people said they could not fit their compostable to-go boxes in them. We are working to get this addressed in the future. We also held an educational event with vegetarian snacks and compostable plates, where one student detailed how she manages to avoid all disposable forks, plates, cups, and food packaging while still eating well on campus.
We are so excited to see where these incredible projects go! Thank you to all who participated in the program and competition. To join one of our amazing other programs, please visit https://www.netimpact.org/leadchange.