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Concerns about climate change and global warming have been ongoing for decades and we are only now beginning to discuss the implementation of international climate policies. Roots of the environmental movement can be traced back to Europe in nineteenth-century as well as the United States in early twentieth-century but no real political action began until the UN Conference on the Human Environment. In 1972, this conference saw an official gathering of multiple governments to begin discussing the global environment. Since then, United Nations Environmental Programmes have been implemented along with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, where the initial environmental treaty was drafted in attempt to stabilize the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and prevent devastating anthropogenic influences on the climatic system.
It is a decade into the 21st century and the issue of climate change is as prominent as ever. With 191 states officially signing and ratifying the Kyoto protocol in 2010, the dangers of global warming have been at the forefront of many political discussions. While dialogue is essential in the process of implementing climate policies, there is simply too much inaction to appropriately address the urgency of this issue. And this is the reason why political action is not sufficient to address the climate change issue. Society needs to move towards greener consumer behaviour and more sustainable civilian lifestyles. More importantly, there needs to be a paradigm shift in our thinking, a transition from consumerism to eco-consciousness and environmental awareness. It is time to take action and educate the next generation.
What is Tread Lightly?
In lieu of these goals, TakingITGlobal for Educators, with the generous support of the Staples Foundation for Learning®, is offering a free climate change educational and engagement initiative. Tread Lightly provides free online tools and resources available in nine languages for both educators and youth aimed at empowering youth to take action on climate change. For educators, the initiative provides a teacher’s toolkit with secondary school curriculum and recommended lesson plans necessary to engage and educate students on the issues of climate change. There are themed virtual classrooms as well as a video conferencing platform to provide students from around the world opportunities to engage in discussions and collaboration in addition to developing technological skills necessary for the 21st century. Youth are encouraged to take the Tread Lightly Challenge, an eco-contest that challenges students to reduce their ecological footprints. There are tips to reduce their environmental impacts as well as an online forum to share ideas, receive support and the opportunity to challenge others and engage in friendly competition.
There are currently two exciting contests for both educators and youth – the Educator Challenge and the Imprints Art Contest.
The Educator Challenge wants to recognize the commitment and passion of educators who are using the Tread Lightly program to engage youth in learning about climate change. To be eligible to win a grand prize of $1000 US, one of five finalist prizes of a TIGed virtual classroom license, or one of three $100 US prizes for signing up for a Tread Lightly thematic classroom, the stories of exceptional leadership and innovation in the field of environmental education will be rewarded. Winners will be those who show the most active and creative use of the Tread Lightly tools, whether it is using one or all of the available resources. To enter, fill out the application form and share a written version of your story via your own blog, YouTube channel, etc. or directly on the form. Submissions will be accepted until May 20, 2011 and winners will be notified shortly after. For further information and/or questions, please contact email@example.com.
The Imprints Art Contest is a contest aimed at engaging youth. Youth ages 15-30 are invited to submit eco-art submissions based on this year’s theme of storytelling. Participants are encouraged to create a narrative addressing their environmental views creatively in any form of artistic expression. The artwork will be shared on the website which can be viewed by others around the world. The contest ends April 15, 2011 so do not miss out on fantastic prizes and submit your artwork today!
So, do you care about the environment? Can you tread lightly?