WANT TO DO A GREEN PROJECT, BUT DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?
Here are some ideas that you can make your own.
1.) Plant trees
- Filter pollution from the air
- Help recycle water
- Prevent soil loss
- Create shade
- Give shelter from wind and rain
- Provide homes for animals
- Make food for humans and wildlife
- Provide an interesting, soothing, learning environment for children and your community
Obtain necessary permission to plant trees in locations beneficial to the community. Research which trees to plant and how to do so effectively. Educate others about the many benefits of trees.
2.) Teach Others: Create an Educational Program to Promote a Sustainable Lifestyle
Do you have a message about environmental stewardship that would promote change in your school or community? Create a detailed plan describing how you would promote and implement your educational plan.
- Promote Waste-Free Lunches at your school. Whether the majority of students brings lunch from home or buys it at school, there’s almost always room for improvement. A waste-free lunch program is a process of educating students, parents, and school staff about where our trash ends up and how we, as individuals, can reduce the amount of trash we generate.
- Do you know that Vampire Energy is draining wallets across the nation? Vampire Energy is energy waste that comes from everyday appliances, like your TV, VCR, microwave, phone charger, computer monitor, etc., even while they’re not in use. “Vampire Energy Loss” from appliances in standby mode, e.g., the clock on your microwave or a screensaver on your PC monitor, costs over $10/year. A plasma TV that runs in standby mode an cost a whopping $160.00/year! Multiply each of these items by 79,000 Carmel residents, and you have a lot of wasted money and energy, PLUS all that pollution created to make the wasted energy. With vampire popularity at an all-time high, promote a creative educational program to make people aware of this problem, and ask for pledges for modified behavior.
- An innovative community artist named Tattfoo created the Sustainable Organic Steward (SOS) Pledge that is free for other groups to use and promote. Perhaps this could be part of your educational program.
- Think air, land, and water. What can you do to teach water conservation or combat land or air pollution?
3.) Create an Organic Community or School Garden
Organic community gardens:
- Allow families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce food
- Conserve resources by shortening the commodity chain, saving on fuel-demanding transportation and packaging
- Promote use of non-toxic pesticides and fertilizers
- Create sense of community
4.) Promote Alternatives to Disposable Plastic Bottles at your School or Sports Club
- Take energy and oil to produce and transport
- Take up space in landfills
- Contain water that is tested for quality less often than tap water
- Are recycled less than 20% of the time
- Is thousands of times more expensive than tap water
- Is often just tap water in a bottle
Might your school or non-profit athletic organization be interested in installing a Water Bottle Refilling Station to encourage reusable water bottle usage? Stations are designed to calculate and let users know how many disposable plastic water bottles are kept out landfills with bottle filled.
5.) Organize a “Trashion Show” or Art Display in a Campaign to Discourage Waste
Who says that teaching lifelong habits for a sustainable lifestyle can’t be fun? Consider art for social change in order to inspire individuals toward mindful consumption, creative re-use and conscientious disposal.
What’s Trashion?Just like it sounds, trashion is a combination of trash and fashion. Participants create and model wearable garments made of clean, usable discarded items, like Project Runway with a reflective, sustainable living twist.
An educational Trashion or Art Show can:
- Captivate audiences through visually striking artwork
- Create awareness about the impacts of our consumer and disposal habits
- Inspire creative reuse by engaging individuals in interactive activities
- Provide resources and alternative solutions for more sustainable habits
Educate and engage your school or community by inviting others to the Trashion Show. Websites with ideas on trashion shows are Education.com and RecyleScene.com. Remember that Carmel Green Teen selection criteria prohibit using our micro-grants for fundraising purposes.
6.) Educate Others as to What Can and Cannot be Recycled
How many Carmel residents wonder, “Can THIS item go into the recycle bin, or is it trash?”
- Now that the city of Carmel provides curbside residential recycling service, perhaps it would benefit the community to work with Republic Services and Carmel Utilities to hold events to better educate the public regarding exactly what can go in those totes
- Carmel Clay Schools use Ray’s Trash Service, so school groups could work with this company to educate students as to what is recyclable at school
- If permitted, field trips to the recycling facilities could be arranged
- Educational posters and announcements could be displayed
- Brainstorm and think of other ways to promote proper recycling – Video? Video Contest? Play? Other?
7.) Host a Rain Barrel-Making Workshop – Don’t just make one, teach others
- Reduce consumption of city water and thus help conserve the water supply and save money
- Help slow the flow of storm-water run-off into the city’s sewer system
- Increase mindfulness to cycles of rain fall and water usage
8.) Host a Compost Bin-Making Workshop – Don’t just make one, teach others
- Reduce the need to haul away compostable trash, thereby saving energy and landfill space
- Save energy and money by creating fertilizer instead of purchasing it
- Provide high quality organic fertilizer
Over eight percent of the waste that each person generates each day could be recovered for composting. That works out to over 140 pounds per person, per year. Yard waste and trimmings account for nearly 13% of municipal solid waste in the United States. This waste consists of grass, leaves, tree, and brush trimmings – adding up to approximately 33 million tons each year.
9.) Host a Clean-up Event to Remove Trash alongside the Monon Trail
- Reduce pollution and provide civic pride
- Offer a healthier environment for animals
- Create a sense of community
- Help establish an area that is nicer to view
Each year volunteers help remove trash from the White River. See http://www.friendsofwhiteriver.org/ for details on how they organize their clean-up event. How can you reach out to others in the community to reduce this trash?
10.) Promote use of CFL light bulbs, Wind Energy, or Solar Energy
- Conduct studies analyzing energy saved vs. cost
- Share studies with public
- Science Fair, Environmental Club, Student Council, & Eagle Scout projects welcome
11.) Promote Reducing, Reusing, or Recycling at your School, Church, or Sports Club
- Reducing, reusing, and recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy and reduces landfill use.
- Be creative in what can be reduced, reused, or recycled, and research the company receiving your items.
- Did you know that the CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM takes unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons?
- Can you find a local library or homeless shelter that would accept used book or magazine donations? Reuse is even better than recycling.
- What about those catalogs you never even wanted? Not making and sending the catalogs in the first place helps the environment even more than reusing and recycling. Consider promoting the Catalog Canceling Challenge or other programs to facilitate the process of never receiving the junk mail in the first place.
- Research the best way to reuse and donate used school supplies and hold a collection event at the end of the year.
**Please note that micro-grants are available for materials such as recycle bins and items to promote their use. Additional and ongoing costs associated with hiring custodial staff and/or a local trash company for ongoing disposal of the recyclables is not a permitted micro-grant expense. Proof of ability to provide these services through other means will be necessary to obtain funding for recycling bins.
12.) Ask your School or Sports Club to adopt a “No Idle” Policy for the Carpool Line
Turning off cars in the carpool line:
- Improves the air quality in the immediate vicinity
- Provides a healthier environment for students
- Saves fuel and money
Currently the “Smart Schools Don’t Idle” program is being piloted at elementary schools in Marion County, implemented by Improving Kids’ Environment and the City of Indianapolis Knozone program, through a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Youth groups interested in promoting a carpool-line “no idle” policy at their school, may work with school administration to adopt a similar plan or create their own.
See Improving Kids Environment – Smart Schools Don’t Idle Program for details.
13.) Create a Native Perennial Plant Garden with signs to educate others
Native perennial plants die back each fall or winter but sprout and grow each spring. This means that their benefits to the public and to the environment continue year after year.
Plants native to Indiana:
- Increase local species diversity and support native animals and pollinators
- Have extensive roots systems that stabilize soil, absorb pollutants, and reduce erosion, runoff, and flooding
- Are adapters to the local soil, climate, and pests which can make them easier to maintain
- Are a variety of beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes that enhance the beauty of landscaped and natural areas while benefiting the environment
The variety of native plants means there are options for any kind of environment. Installing educational signage with your planting helps to educate the public on the benefits of natives and encourage their use elsewhere. Native plants are particularly useful in attracting threatened pollinators or can be used as part of a rain garden to improve water quality.
14.) Create your own idea – Think Green! Brainstorm as a group to develop a project that can have an impact on the environment and help change behaviors to make Carmel a sustainably greener community.
World Water Day is in March, Global Youth Service Days, Earth Day and Arbor Day are in April. Applications are due February 28 of each year, and approved projects receive their funding money by March 31.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns about your project idea. We’re happy to answer your questions.