SANTA CRUZ -- How green is your lifestyle? The Project Green Challenge invites high school and college students, including dozens at UC Santa Cruz, to find out, one day at a time.
The 30-day challenge, organized by Bay Area nonprofit Teens Turning Green, presents participants with activities centered around a daily theme. One challenge, for example, calls for students to examine the benefits and limitations of certified labels on products they use every day. Participants report their experiences to Teens Turning Green, which rewards the best entries with daily prizes. The challenge runs throughout October. At the end of the challenge, 12 finalists will be selected to attend a three-day eco-summit in Marin County, where an overall winner will be named.
"The goal is to take different themes of life and to empower (participants) to realize that there could be a much more just way of approaching them," said Judi Shils, co-founder and executive director of Teens Turning Green. The organization approached thousands of schools earlier this year about the Project Green Challenge. UCSC is participating for the first time this year and, according to Shils, is a sustainable campus way ahead of the curve.
"UC Santa Cruz is a stunning example," she said. "Their leadership is making the right choices and the students are coming up with great ideas. Everything's already happening at UCSC."
Melissa Ott is the campus representative for the Project
"We see Project Green Challenge as an opportunity to open the discussion about what it means to practice sustainability," Ott said. As of Monday, 29 UCSC students had signed up for the challenge, with more expected throughout the month. The students will be meeting weekly to discuss their experiences. The challenge is not limited to students.
"Everyone's invited," Shils said, although non-students are not eligible for daily prizes. Still, there are other benefits.
"It's life-changing," Shils said. "Even if they log in one day and make one change, that change will be profound."
Participants can begin at any time by going to projectgreenchallenge.com. It's never too late to start thinking about everyday consumer choices, Shils said.
"Any time is the right time."
On the web
Challenge 2012: projectgreenchallenge.com
On Facebook: facebook.com/TeensTurnGreen
On Twitter: twitter.com/TeensTurnGreen
Follow UCSC Project Green Challenge participants: facebook.com/ucscsustainability