For years, my friends have asked me: Erin, how can I go green? Where do I begin? Project Green Challenge is my answer: thirty simple steps to take your life from conventional to conscious. This is the most exciting and robust initiative in the seven-plus year history of Teens Turning Green, a beautiful collaboration between our organization, corporate, non-profit, and media partners, and high school and college students across the country and around the world. And year two of PGC is upon us, beginning October 1!
I have found that the most effective way to hook my peers is through simple, fun, and high impact steps - and that is precisely what the challenge offers, in thirty daily installments. Making eco or socially just ways of life accessible, beneficial, and relevant is critical! How does this impact MY life? How can it fit into MY busy schedule? How will it improve MY day to day, as well as the world?
This is the information that must be conveyed to young people to activate change agents and mobilize action. We want creative, compelling content that enters our lives through a variety of channels: social media, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogosphere, email, friends, school, magazines, websites, stores, you name it. Everything must be sharable and social in the age of instant digital communication and mass peer-to-peer networking.
That is what TTG sought to create... and I am thrilled to report that we accomplished our goal with last year's first-ever Project Green Challenge! The 2011 inaugural 30-day eco lifestyle challenge was a massive success. Nearly 2700 high school and college students from over 510 campuses in 48 US states and 21 countries signed on to learn and take action in the transition from conventional to conscious. And this year, we want to double those numbers! Each day has specified tasks to complete, multimedia deliverables, resource guide, and expert tips around a set theme - food to fashion, paper to GMO, cleaning to dorm, to name a few. Simple daily challenges demonstrate just how fun, accessible, and effective eco and socially responsible living can be. Participants earn points to incentivize action and the best submissions are awarded amazing prizes daily (in addition to the phenomenal grand prize package and scholarship worth over $15,000 dollars). Twelve finalists will then come together with esteemed leaders for the PGC Finals: Green University, an unprecedented weekend of sharing, inspiration, and social action platform development. Together with a powerful collective of partners, as well as campus representatives, student organizations, and our TTG team, we reached well over 4 million people with this vital messaging last year - and have already surpassed that in the lead up to this year's Challenge.
The greater our reach and larger our impact, the more success we have in mobilizing young people as indefatigable agents of change! Our campaign members and Challengers have rolled out the very programs conceived at GreenU over the course of the past year. These nationwide initiatives are among the most innovative I know: traveling REstyled runway shows, a Right to Know non-GMO campus road tour, GreenStyled eco fashion competition, Eco Top Chef competition around school lunch, and Project Green Dorm back-to-school microsite and Pinterest contest, to name but a few of the projects TTG spearheaded to show students the many entry points into - and depths of - conscious living.
And now, Project Green Challenge 2012! We stand for action, for doing something, for making your voice heard, for believing in the power of individual action and collective efforts... are you ready to begin this journey? Whatever your interest, we want you involved and we want to support your work. Collaboration and partnerships are at the core of everything we do, ofthis ongoing and growing push for positive environmental and social impact. I personally want to know what excites you and help connect the dots to turn your passion into action... so tweet me at @ErinSchrode and join us in October for the 30-day global greenswell. Find out more and SIGN UP for Project Green Challenge to lead the charge for change in your own life, home, campus, and community. Be a part of this powerful, diverse, and far-reaching movement to sustain a healthy, just world!