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Motivate children to help save the planet

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

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Today we hear much about anaerobic digesters and energy-making waste plants. We see turbines appearing over the landscape. We see solar panels appearing on rooftops. Systems that make us less reliant on fossil fuels have to be a move in the right direction but my question is: how do we effect change in society to make this sustainable for generations to come?

In the words of John F Kennedy: "Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future"

To reach them we must go into schools, colleges and universities and find ways to work in partnership. Business and education need to work more closely together. By this I don't mean through sponsorship, but by investing time and expertise to educate and enthuse our children and help them to realise they a can change the future.

Motivated and enthused children also have one of the most powerful tools to change adults…it's called pester power.To those sceptical mums and dads the numbers really stack up as well.

Turning down your thermostat by one degree and you could save around £55 and 230kg of carbon a year.

If we all only boiled as much as we needed rather than filling the kettle right up every time, we could save money and enough electricity in a single year to power the street lights in the UK for more than six months.

If you replace a 50W halogen downlighter with a 6W LED you will typically save around £4 per year, or £70 by the time you have to replace the bulb. You may have to wait a few seconds for the brightness to build but you get used to it very quickly.

This is not rocket science: very simple, easy, small changes can have huge effects if everyone gets involved. So come on parents support the kids, even if you only change one bulb, it makes a difference and saves you money!

Meeting the sustainability team at Stoke Climsland Primary School left me amazed: their passion must be seen to be believed! These five to 11 year olds know how to do all of this and are really keen to see it happen.

Working with the Employability Department at Plymouth University has also given me the opportunity to experience the 'Green' credentials of the university and the drive that comes from the students themselves.

Business has a huge role in effecting this change. Rather than waiting to be forced by legislation, we have a responsibility to make this happen. Visit your local school and community centre and see what you can do to help.

So come on I challenge you all, turn that light off, change your light bulb and sort your rubbish.

It's not hard and could just save the planet – not a bad return on investment!

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