Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Hello, from Nechako Valley!

After the assembly, I talked with some student leaders. They’ve run a successful e-waste drive and have a water walk coming up for the school’s Water Week.

“What is the expected impact of your water walk?

What do you consider to be success?

How do you intend to measure success? Is it the number of dollars raised? Is it the number of participants? Is it the awareness of water issues?

How do you measure the improvement? Is it the reduction of water use in the school?” I asked the student leaders.

Blank faces. Bright, curious eyes. I’m thrilled. This is why I’m here.

This is a good starting point. Young people are smart. They’re not going to continue putting labour into fruitless projects.

If we don’t want high-school sustainability projects to be empty exercises, we need to start equipping our students with the ability to turn innovative ideas into impactful long-term projects.

And that’s what we hope to do. For every school we visit, we challenge students to solve their community’s biggest sustainability challenge. We help students identify, analyze, and develop solutions to their community’s biggest sustainability challenge. In turn, our full-time sustainability project consultants across Canada provide mentorship for all interested students.

Sincerely,

Steve

Hello, from Smithers!

Visiting the town’s local high school, I witnessed tremendous potential for youth action. Over the last six years, teachers and students have started environmental initiatives that are unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else in Canada.

SSS Youth Action is an active group of dedicated students and teachers, Mr. Hubert, Mr. Rath, and Mrs. Cunningham. Together this group has tackled social justice and environmental issues including the initiation of a compost system, a bicycle powered charge station for cell phones and to make smoothies, microgreens grown for snacks in classrooms, the invention of a rocket retort to convert the woodshop’s sawdust into biochar, a Vegucation website, a 4000 sq ft garden, and the construction of a biomeiller and geodesic dome for year round growing.  SSS Youth Action has won provincial and national awards (BC Green Games and Staples Ecovator Contest) for their efforts.  Smithers Secondary students have benefited greatly by being involved with these eco-innovations.

The mastermind behind these inventions is teacher Rick Hubert, who is a climate change leader.

He’s made machinery and equipment at his metal shop to create a more energy efficient and sustainable Smithers. Hubert has been recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence.

To help his wife fight cancer, he started looking for ​more nutritious and better sourced agricultural food.

This led to the creation of the first biomeiller and geodesic dome in the region.  Hubert has put much of his own time into these projects, and much has been funded by grants he applied for. At one point, part of his teaching load was assigned to working on green initiatives and running the geodesic dome with students, but over the past years, the school has faced a large decline in population and as a result, a decrease in budget.  Hubert’s teaching schedule no longer allows time for a “green block” so it’s become impossible for him to keep things running.  The geodesic dome hasn’t been operating for the past two years.

Recently, there’s been talk of scrapping the geodesic dome altogether. It’s a hard situation for everyone at Smithers Secondary. Teachers acknowledge that the budget decline is a very real and serious problem; in equal measure, they see the enormous educational benefits of such climate innovations for students.

We see it too.

This is why we do this tour. We want to highlight climate solutions that educators and students are building in high schools across Canada.

Smithers, you inspire us – and the rest of Canada – with your steps towards real climate action. We are rooting for you, and the return of the biodome to Smithers Secondary.

Sincerely,

Steve

Dear Future Canada

A letter to future generations

– Steve Lee

Dear Future Canada,

If you are reading this letter, my generation has succeeded in solving climate change.

You see, back in 2017, the human race was on the verge of existential crisis. From our ignorant yet arrogant perspective, the sky seemed like an endless space into which we could dump our garbage without limit. So, we burned fossil fuels at irresponsible rates, which increased the global temperature.

By the dawn of 21st century, the energy trapped by man-made global warming pollution was equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. Every year was hotter than the year before. The sudden increase in temperature caused people to die from heat waves.

The frequency and severity of extreme weather events increased every year. Families, cultures, and livelihoods were wiped away by violent storms. Entire people groups and cultures were disappearing due to chronic droughts. We cut our forests down, expanded our oil rigs, and fracked our water sources.

We have killed more than half of the animals on our planet in 40 years. Sea levels rose to engulf island nations and forced people to leave the lands of their ancestors. Almost 90% of our ocean was polluted by plastic debris. Air and water pollution turned cities uninhabitable. Roads and train rails were breaking down. Deserts were expanding the size of Ireland every year.

Rising global economic inequality and food insecurity brought political instability. Regional wars, insurgent groups, and extremist militias wreaked havoc. Political leaders worldwide questioned whether climate change is a hoax, blamed other countries, and delayed action until my generation became the final generation who could solve climate change.

If you are reading this letter, humanity has bent the moral arc of history towards justice.

We must have had the courage to move away from fossil fuels and embraced renewable technology to energize our world. We must have set aside our short-term differences and fulfilled our shared long-term responsibilities. We must have reduced global inequality and designed a financial system that works for people, planet, and prosperity. We must have created a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future.

If you are reading this letter, all the sacrifice made by thousands of brave women, men and children, who have invested their life towards fighting climate change, were all worth it.

I really do hope you are reading this letter.

With great hope,
Steve