Kids cool the world

photo courtesy of Cool the Earth

North Oakland Community Charter School parents might be wondering why, all of a sudden, their kids are bugging them to use compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), to eat one less pound of beef per week, or to take shorter showers.

The Oakland charter school is one of more than 20 schools to join the Cool the Earth initiative. Started in 2007 by Marin County parents, the program educates kids (grades K-8) about global warming and gives them “action coupons” for saving water, paper, electricity and gas at home.

Cool the Earth is run by a small team of parents and/or other volunteers at each school — with the approval of the school principal — and takes place at lunch time. The first 100 schools to sign up receive all of the materials for free.

The “child-driven” approach to changing energy consumption habits sounds pretty promising, so I thought you might be interested. This fall, the project won founder Carleen Cullen a Jefferson Award for public service.

Just think: Three-minute showers and bicycle commutes to work could be in your near future.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.