A recent survey of kids grade 4-12 by George Mason University indicates that close to 80 percent of kids in the U.S (almost 20 percent more than adults) believe global warming is a very serious problem.
It's not surprising then that educational nonprofits like the Go Green Foundation are focused on kids. Kids believe in the problem, they are the most motivated to change their behaviors, and they are the most optimistic about being able to make a real difference.
The Go Green Foundation just launched an interesting competition that will put these kids to the test. This month, four Bay Area high schools will be given 20 specially equipped cell phones (provided by Nokia) which contain an app and sophisticated GPS technology that can calculate rates of speed and thus determine weather the competing student is walking, biking, driving, bussing or taking the train.
The app then calculates the associated carbon footprint (with the ability to input different vehicle types) and gives the student a report each day about their carbon emissions. The reports are tracked online, and at the end of the semester the high school with the greatest reduction in CO2 emissions wins.
Though it certainly doesn't capture a complete carbon footprint, its a great way to motivate students to make lifestyle changes early by overcoming what I think is the greatest challenge with behavior — seeing your impact. As one student said:
You can think about it and want to do it, but to actually make the conscious decision to take another form of transportation is where the real change lies.