Recently I got the opportunity to be a special guest speaker at Johnson upper elementary thanks to Julie Thompson, leader of their PTA. One of my favorite things to do is talk to kids about water conservation, reuse, composting etc. The questions they ask are priceless and I also make sure to ask them a lot of questions too. In my day to day I forget sometimes what it was like in middle school. When your attend school dances and feel awkward and actually I “rebeled” as my parents would say, refusing to join any school teams but rather spend all my hours after (and sometimes during) school skateboarding. I still skateboard and it has given me a perspective that I would not otherwise know. When I arrive at the skatepark you have kids of all ages interacting it’s their park. Like it’s their park… This is our earth and we all have to take care of it. If we don’t teach kids the importance of green living then it will surely die. In a throw away society, water that just magically flows out the tap, soil which you buy at a store are winning. It’s time to change that, and change starts with the kids.
Posts Tagged ‘schools’
Maxi Container was recently contacted by U of M School of Art and Design student Diane Thach. In August 2012 she will be one of 10 U of M students traveling with U of M School of Art and Design Detroit Connections Co-ordinator Charlie Michaels to Nungua, Ghana. Once there they will be teaching young adults how to make charcoal out of sugarcane and other natural agricultural waste.
This program has several goals. Ghana has one of the highest rates of deforestation, losing 2.19 percent of its forests per year. According to one study, forest biomass removal for fuelwood and charcoal represents the major source of energy for over 75% of Ghana’s population. Furthermore, traditional wood based charcoal smoke has a variety of irritant pollutants, some of which are known carcinogens. More than 1.5 million deaths a yearare caused by acute respiratory infections from breathing smoke from indoor cooking fires. Finally, wood charcoal is expensive. Poor families in Ghana can spend over 25% of their income on fuel.
The charcoal produced from the sugarcane and agricultural waste burns cleanly, reducing exposure to the smoke that causes respiratory infections; it uses agricultural waste materials, and therefore does not contribute to deforestation; and it transforms a waste stream into a high-value, income generating product.
Under the model developed by MIT’s d-lab a 55 gallon steel drum is an integral part of the charcoal making process. It is the kiln in which the agricultural waste is carbonized to begin the charcoal making process. Maxi Container, donated a used food grade steel drum for the students to practice prior to their trip to Ghana.
According to Charlie Michaels, they will be keeping a blog while on their trip in August. Stay tuned for future updates on this exciting program.
Last night, Anchor Bay Middle School hosted a green Science Night, and were invited to show our rain barrel and compost tumbler. When I arrived ( a little late ) the hallways where filled with kids from 6th, 7th, and 8th – quickly setup and started to engage in conversations with students and parents.
My colleague, Annette was also there to help explain the many benefits of rain water harvesting. Many had questions and we handed out flyers for our upcoming free event “Rain Barrels on the Riverfront” hosted by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and The Sierra Club. ( Download the flyer )
After about two hours the crowds slowed and we began to pack up, before I left they started the raffle. We donated a Rain Barrel to be raffled off, here is a pic. (I’m not sure who won it still though)
Overall, we had a wonderful evening and I would like to on behalf of Maxi formally thank Anchor Bay Middle School North for organizing the event and including us. Our friend from GreeningDetroit.com were there too… Checkout there website for more info and video from event here.
I also heard that yesterday Anchor Bay MS North received their official MI Green School Certification, congratulations!
If your school is having a green event like this please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the perks of owning your own business is that you can take time to be involved in your community. Today, I was involved in an event that proved the old saying, “Think globally, act locally.” Thanks to John Carlos and our friends at GreeningDetroit.com my son and co-worker Josh Rubin and I were Judges at the 2012 Michigan Regional Future City Competition hosted by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). We helped determine the winner for a “special award” for the “Greenest City”. (Sponsored by GreeningDetroit.com)
The Future City Competition challenges students to design a city of the future and have fun doing it. The program is designed to promote technological literacy and engineering to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. The idea is to foster an interest in math, science and engineering through hands-on, real world applications and help students better understand the practical applications of mathematical and scientific principles.
I met 6th, 7th and 8th graders from many different types of schools, from city schools to charter schools, and church schools to public schools. It was a very diverse group kids from all over the state. They all had one thing in common, enthusiasm. They spoke to myriad adults from many large and small business explaining in detail their model city. All of the designs were imaginative and addressed issues that we are all familiar with. Some had communication services that alerted paramedics in the event of a medical emergency. Others used maglev transportation systems, vertical farms, bio-domes, passive solar heating and living roofs among the many technologies. The students addressed where people would live, where they would work and how they would get there.
Our team of judges were looking for use of green products in building, sustainable development, greenery (parks and farms), how the city dealt with peak energy demands and the use of renewable energy. It was very difficult to determine the “Greenest City”, but after much discussion we gave our award to Birney K-8 School, Southfield, MI.
Birney’s entry had a recycling center, vertical farming, green roofs, geothermal, solar and piezoelectric energy. They used anaerobic digestion to break down wastes, recycled gray water, composted their food waste and, most dear to us at Maxi Container, used rain barrels to harvest rain water for irrigation.
As impressive as the students at Birney were, I was also impressed by St. Valantine’s who had movable sidewalks and a desalination plant. Hazel Park’s used electrochromic glass to control the light and heat in their buildings. Academy of the Sacred Heart used a combination of solar, wind and tidal power. The underwater turbines were bladeless so as not to harm sea life.
You can see a complete list of the winners here, but if you ask me, all of the schools were winners and so was our community as a whole.
Maxi Container received an inquiry about a new 30-gallon steel drum and when we found out what it would be used for our interest grew. Steve Quinlan, the Director of Institutional Advancement for Advanced Technology Academy in Dearborn explained that a senior class of students taking the course Sustainable Energy II would build the heater. A Rocket Heater, otherwise called a Rocket Stove or Rocket Mass Heater, combines the air-intake with the fuel-feed slot in an opening terminated by the combustion chamber, which connects to a chimney and also a heat exchanger. Simply put, a rocket stove has a fuel magazine but primarily works like a wood burning stove which uses the exhaust to heat a adobe clay housing. They are simple to build and yield high combustion efficiency, all while channeling the heat into a specific (small) area. The design of stove means it uses half as much fuel as an open fire and can also use smaller diameter wood even twigs. The stove is insulated and raised from the floor which reduces the danger of children burning themselves.Some uses for a a rocket heater are:
- Cooking (mostly third-world countries)
- Space heater
- Water heater
Advanced Tech is one of Michigan’s green schools, (see our article about Michigan’s program for schools to earn different stewardship levels for completing green activities here.) and they are also a charter school.
After working out the details we setup a meeting on Monday March 21 at 1:30 PM where I (Joshua Rubin, Creative Director of Maxi) would drop off the drum and take a look at what is going on over at Advanced Tech.
Maxi wants to encourage other schools to contact us with any “green” projects or initiatives. From recycling in the classroom (see our Oprep article) to energy efficient rocket heaters seen here, we love to help schools. If we want to help reduce the next generations carbon footprint, we have to teach them early on to reduce, reuse, recycle, buy recycled products and safely dispose of their hazardous waste.
Thank you Advanced Tech for choosing Maxi, we wish you the best with your rocket heater project. Looking forward to seeing the pictures of the completed heater.
Children learn best by doing. If we are to raise a generation of children who care about the environment and who are willing to reduce their carbon footprint, there is no better way than having them practice these activities as part of their daily routine. They can see recycling in action, help make compost from the food waste, learn to buy recycled products. They can incorporate the ideals of reuse and recycling into their daily lives.
Michigan Senate Bill 904, signed into law on December 16, 2010 by Governor Jeniffer Granholm, revised the activities that need to be done in order to designate a school as either a Green, Emerald or Evergreen school. These activities include recycling programs, composting food and organic waste, waste free lunches, buying recycled or biodegradable supplies, and buying locally produced food produce. It can also include teaching about alternative energy or using alternative fuels.
A good example of how to teach children that their actions affect the environment can be found at Gill Elementary in Farmington Hills, Michigan. As highlighted in a recent article in the The Oakland Press, the school’s green efforts which include recycling, composting, using less packaging and other waste-reduction efforts, have earned finalist status in the National Geographic Find Your Footprint contest. The Gill Green Team, which is dedicated to making the school more earth-friendly, entered the contest under the direction of fourth grade teacher Christine Wilson and Gina Adams-Levy, Gill parent and Green Team member. The Green Team already recycled plastic and other materials, but lunchtime still generated a lot of waste. To deal with that lunchtime waste the Gill Green Team kicked off Waste-Free Fridays in January 2011, showing skits that gave examples of waste reduction at an all-school assembly. The team also sent notices home to parents, encouraging them to pack waste-free lunches on Fridays. The result, on Fridays the amount of lunch waste goes from six trash bags to four.
Maxi Container believes in helping school’s recycle so much that we have previously donated fiber drums to Osborn Preparatory School in Detroit to help start a Recycling Program with City Year Detroit. We encourage other schools to contact us, whether about our rain barrels and compost tumblers or your school’s recycling initiative. When students put these DIY projects together, watch how they work and understand the importance of building towards a sustainable future. Hopefully we help create a lasting impression on the student, one which says, if we each do something everyday to help promote green living, we help protect and better the world around us while building a more eco-sustainable future for future generations.