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How to become 1% more sustainable every day in October with the Project Green Challenge

Electric energy generating wind turbines are seen on a wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass area near Palm Springs, California.
Electric energy generating wind turbines are seen on a wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass area near Palm Springs, California.

Environmental advocates are adapting to the digital age by bringing eco-friendly tips to individuals in a more accessible and digestible way.

The influx of climate news can make sustainable living seem unreachable. However, in the age of digital outreach, environmental organizations are using email newsletters in order to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

For the past 11 years, the Project Green Challenge encourages high school, college, and graduate students to participate in becoming 1% more environmentally friendly every day in October. While the challenges are targeted towards students, anyone is welcome to participate and no level of expertise is required. It is completely free to join.

According to their website, “Students complete bold actions, upload deliverables, acquire points on a leaderboard and in the process, help heal the planet” by submitting videos, photography, written and art work to the Project Green Challenge site.

At the end of 30 days, participants have the option to apply to become a finalist. 14 finalists are selected to attend a three-day summit in Los Angeles, California in November. The finalists present their 30-day journeys and help develop frameworks for Climate Action Projects which could earn them a $5000 Acure Green Award.

The goal of the challenge is to demonstrate the impact that individual action can have on environmental health. While it may seem impossible to make a difference, it is important for anyone to know the role humans play in the global ecosystem.

The Peoria Zoo's education department works to bring this information to the public on a local level.

"When we're doing our programs, we really like to talk a lot about how an animal impacts its ecosystem," said Peoria Zoo educator Julie Brunton.

She also says that reaching students about the importance of the environment is a key factor in their classes.

The Peoria Zoo uses “animal ambassadors,” where they bring out animals for students to interact with.

“It's one of those things that kind of sticks with you. And that's what we found with the kids, you know, there's certain animals that they'll really kind of just bond with,” Brunton said.

These programs are aimed at younger generations, but also can be used to reach adults. Brunton says “I'm just one of those people that really believe every small step makes a difference and it might not seem like it's adding up to a whole lot. But if you can get a bunch of people to do it in just little tiny steps, that's going to add up to making some change.”

Join the Project Green Challenge here or take a class at the Peoria Zoo here.

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Isabela Nieto is a student reporting intern at WCBU. Isabela is also a student at Bradley University in Peoria.