Greening in Action: Promoting Environmental and Behavioural Sustainability by Greaning in Action
Promoting environmental sustainability in learning institutions through youth led initiatives in institutions and communities
Greening in Action (GRINA) is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme initiated by ACX an organization that promotes environmental sustainability among citizens, the public and private sector. Therefore, GRINA Program is a comprehensive environmental action plan for institutions that provides support, strategic direction and promotes the engagement of institutions/schools in Africa. It will help to integrate environmental sustainability in the institutions’ long term planning (environmental education program).
Through the GRINA program – which is a ﬂexible program for country-driven action engaging different stakeholders on education, training and public awareness on climate change, we will offer simple practical steps that can have huge impacts in the long run. The awareness of the effects of climate change will help all staff, students and stakeholders including persons with special societal groups (youth, women & people with disabilities) to develop positive attitude towards their environment.
The GRINA Program was developed to reach out to staff and students from learning institutions and their stakeholders so as to raise awareness on environmental sustainability and behavioral changes. Therefore, the Mission of GRINA is “To enable stakeholders in learning institutions actively involve themselves in environmental sustainability issues within their institutions and extend this to their surrounding communities”. In addition, they also incorporate behavioral changes that will be transmitted to the staff and students and carried over after they leave the institution to their work places or home. Finally, the program will enable students and staff to develop and implement viable sustainable business ideas that could be scaled up. As a result, the vision of ACX Africa will be accomplished as the GRINA Program will have empowered citizens; public and private sectors to make sustainable environmental decisions as well as behavioral changes.
Category of action
Youth Leadership on Climate Change
What actions do you propose?
The global scientific and policy community now unequivocally accepts that human activities cause global climate change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). The scientific consensus has been translated for a broad public and policy makers in a variety of recent reports both globally and locally (National Climate Change Response Strategy (2013); National Climate Change Action Plan Kenya (2013). Although information on climate change is now readily available, the nation still seems unprepared or unwilling to respond effectively to climate change, partly due to a general lack of public understanding of climate change issues and opportunities for effective responses.
The reality of global climate change lends increasing urgency to the need for effective education on earth system science, as well as on the human and behavioral dimensions of climate change, from broad societal action to smart energy choices at the household level. While education at all levels and in both formal and informal settings is needed, instilling climate change awareness and understanding at a young age is ultimately the best way to change behaviors and attitudes. What children learn today will shape tomorrow’s world.
However, the public’s limited understanding of climate change is partly the result of some critical challenges that have slowed development and delivery of effective climate change education. First, research over the past years has demonstrated that the underlying science of climate change is inherently difficult for most learners and the general public to comprehend and for educators or schools to competently teach. Furthermore, the connection between science and society that is implied in climate change education aimed at changing people’s behavior makes the task of teaching and learning more difficult still (Leiserowitz and Smith 2010).
Secondly, achieving the broad range of goals of climate change education requires a cross-disciplinary approach, blending education with social, behavioral, and practical application. Third, the myriad of Government ministries and parastatals, nongovernmental organizations, and businesses investing in climate change education are duplicating efforts and wasting limited resources without effective forum for coordination, cooperation, and alignment to overall education strategies. Fourth, like evolution, climate change has become a highly politicized topic in the policy arena and in education, and people’s willingness to be educated or to learn is greatly dependent on their political attitude toward the issue itself (Leiserowitz and Smith 2010; Forrest and Feder, 2014).
Therefore, the following physical actions will be undertaken to make this program a reality
1. We will create a stakeholders forums ranging from the government with representatives from the education, environment, public works and infrastructure ministries, education sector such as university management boards and staff, oversight bodies, Environmental authorities, conservation bodies, students representatives, and the private sectors to be able to deliberate and discuss issues dealing with environmental and behavioral sustainability.
2. We will engage members of university and colleges especially the boards and management on importance of developing environmental sustainability policies as well as allocating resources on environmental management to reduce their negative environmental impact.
3. Support, conduct and offer advice to the institutions in partnership with their students to conduct environmental impact assessment, energy audits, waste management systems and measure their impact.
4. Conduct assessment of the top five most negative environmental impact and work towards reducing the institution’s impact by applying sustainable green solutions, reallocating necessary resources, continuous evaluation and monitoring.
5. Training and capacity building of the staff, students and communities on environmental management, sustainable development, environmental advocacy and communication and project management.
6. Conduct energy audit and management throughout the institution in order to identify, implement, evaluate and monitor green solutions to save energy.
7. Develop waste management solutions that will help the institution recycle, reuse and reduce their waste, as well as the rethink, restructure and redistribute resources.
8. Create forums where institutions staff and students can engage youth and women in their communities in activities that will increase sensitizations and awareness of climate change issues
9. Engage staff and students in environmental and climate change research in their communities and environment so as to help the members of the community mitigate and adapt to climate change without losing their livelihoods.
10. Engage the youth in planting of trees especially fruit trees first, in their institutions, surrounding communities and finally in conservation areas such as forests, water catchment areas etc
Who will take these actions?
The main beneficiary of this program will be the institutions themselves. The GRINA Program is designed to help and support institutions and its departments improve their environmental performance. The program will work on an annual cycle, to enable yearly development and longer term sustainability. Institution staff members will therefore be key participants in implementing actions arising from the program.
Historically, students have played a significant role in campaigning on various key issues that have shaped societies and the world. From the struggle against apartheid in South Africa to the civil rights movement in the USA and even to the multi-party democracy in Kenya, students have been on the frontline, using their indignation and energy to achieve real change. We believe students have the potential to play a critical role in the fight to prevent catastrophic climate change. Other than advocacy, the program will encourage students and institutions to engage the community and other stakeholders in environmental sustainability project through training and implementation of scalable projects in water and waste management, energy management, agribusiness and lifestyle changes. This is expected to assist in creation of employment opportunities and green enterprises for the community members and the youth. One of the program’s goal is to nature a generation of students that will spread the message of environmental conservation and sustainable development to the various sectors and areas they will be involved in, even after they leave their current institutions.
Government, NGO’s and private sector players, are invited to play a supportive role by encouraging and rewarding action from the students. Business can offer financial incentives, for example, to support student projects in waste and water management or energy efficiency. Government can also offer grants or student bursaries to those that show the greatest drive and passion for environmental conservation.
What are other key benefits?
- The program will reduce the ecological footprint by greening institutions activities and premises.
- Potential cost savings through activities leading to; energy and water savings, health benefits (improved indoor air quality, reduction in exposure to chemicals and other similar improvements)
- Enable the institution to prepare a sustainable environmental policy (if it exists help in implementing or amending the already existing ones).
- Provide the institution with simple and proven framework for promoting sustainability.
- Promote employment creation by encouraging development of green business, manufacturing and distributing green products.
- Equip students with knowledge on; project management, Environmental training and auditing experience to improve their CV and enhance employability.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Finacial Budget for the Program
Item Amount ($)
Workshops and seminars 3000
Publicity and relations 2100
Travelling and Subsistence 1200
Training and Activities 700
Team Support and follow-up 500
Assessment and Awards 2500
Total amount 10000
5-15 years: We intend to conduct a pilot run of the project in 10-15 institutions in the first 5 years. Then role it out to the rest of the country covering over 65 public and private institutions i the country.
15-50 Years: We will focus in rolling out the program in the rest of Africa starting with the east and Central Region, Then Western and Northern Region, and finally Southern region of Africa.
50-100 years from now we hope to have impacted all of Africa region and set up camp in over 80% of all public and private learning institutions. Also our main goal is to have built strong and responsible proactive institutions that will not only educate graduates but also raise responsible Citizens all over Africa who care about their Environment and Mitigate and adapt easily to climate change.
Goldin, N., Patel P., and Perry, K, (2014) The Global Youth Wellbeing index: A Report of the CSIS Youth, Prosperity, and Security Initiative and the International Youth Foundation, Center for strategic and International Studies
Leiserowitz, A., Smith, E., Roser-Renouf, C., and Smith, N.,( 2010) Yale project on Climate Change Communication: Global Warming’s Six Americas, obtained from http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/SixAmericasJune2010.pdf 23rd June 2014
National Research Council. Climate Change Education: Engaging Family Private Forest Owners on Issues Related to Climate Change: A Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.
· National Capacity in Forestry Research (2002) Committee on National Capacity in Forestry Research, National Research Council
National Research Council. Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
TakingITGlobal (2007) Climate Change: Youth Action, TakingITGlobal, Toronto
Unicef ( ) Chlimate change: Take Action Now, A guide to supporting the local actions of children and young people, with special emphasis on girls and young women.