The Go Green Initiative (GGI), which was established in 2002, is a global environmental education program that trains teachers and school volunteers to conserve natural resources for future generations and protect human health through environmental stewardship. Pleasanton-based GGI provides free instruction for volunteers in all 50 states and in 73 countries, teaching them to integrate environmental education into existing curriculum and quantify the environmental impact of their conservation efforts.
“Our vision is a world where natural resources are equitably available, and all children are healthier as a result of living the principles of the Go Green Initiative,” says Jill Buck, Founder and CEO. “The Go Green Initiative stands out because despite our tight budget, we have the largest market share of any environmental education program in the world.”
More than 2.5 million students and 200,000 teachers are involved with GGI, including schools and students in the Tri-Valley. For the summer of 2020, GGI hired two teams of interns. One team was made up of students from Pleasanton, and one was made up of students from Compton, Hayward, and Oakland, California and students from the Sangamon Valley School District in Illinois. Both internships were conducted entirely over a video conferencing service.
“Our Pleasanton interns studied water conservation in Pleasanton and produced two main deliverables, an outreach campaign designed to educate members of their community about water conservation and a full-length documentary about Pleasanton’s water,” notes Buck. The documentary, called Hometown Water, explores the immeasurable importance of water in Pleasanton. “It follows our water’s journey, diving into the history of water use in Pleasanton and addressing our town’s future water needs in order to understand why it is essential that we conserve water now.”
The second group of interns, nicknamed the Multi-City Interns, focused on energy use in their schools. They not only assessed their schools’ energy use but also created presentations and reports to educate their school communities about energy-saving techniques. By the end of the seven-week internship, the Multi-City Interns had learned about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, how to conduct a walk-through energy audit of their schools, use a consumer energy monitor to calculate the monthly cost of electronics, read an energy bill, and help their high schools strive for Energy Star Certification. Energy Star Certified buildings meet energy performance standards set by the EPA and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings.
“These were paid internships for students whose summer plans were all cancelled due to Covid,” says Buck. “They got to learn new skills, meet new people, and earn a paycheck in a safe way. We are very proud that our sponsors enabled us to provide these programs.”
GGI supports environmental efforts on the local level as well as globally. In October, for example, Amador Valley High School’s Local Leaders of the 21st Century Club sent handmade fall-themed cards to residents of Pleasanton’s Ridgeview Commons to brighten their day. Local Leaders of the 21st Century Club is a GGI pilot program to help students understand how local public policy and industry work together on critical community systems involving waste, water, energy, and food. Students have the opportunity to earn both scholarships and community service hours for graduation.
The nonprofit also provides a variety of resources to the community. GGI will soon provide public access on its website to its water conservation outreach program. It also has a podcast, Go Green Radio, which features Buck and occasional guest speakers discussing a variety of important environmental issues.
For more information about Go Green Initiative or to request its reports on the 2020 internships, please visit gogreeninitiative.org.
To view Hometown Water: The Lifeline of Pleasanton, please visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-7jN605W2Q&feature.
To listen to Go Green Radio, please visit www.voiceamerica.com/show/1303/go-green-radio.