Credo High School, in partnership with One Planet Living, is a recipient of a $1,400 grant from the Rohnert Park Foundation small grants program, which will be used to help host the 2019 One Planet Youth Summit. The summit will offer workshops to youth on projects that enhance local conservation habits and sustainability efforts, and to showcase work students have been doing to take care of the planet and inspire each other with their ideas.
“One purpose is to build connections between students and their schools and also organizations so they really have those opportunities to take their skills to the next level,” says Marika Ramsden, One Planet Coordinator at Credo High School. “They’re so often in their clubs at school and they’re doing a lot of work and understand the gravity of the [environmental] situation that we’re in and feeling very disempowered. Just showing them they’re not alone and that there are a lot of other students out there their age that are working really hard too is empowering. They can adopt each other’s projects and learn how the other students did it and take it back to their own school. It’s a day of planting seeds and building bridges.”
One Planet Living is a framework for living in a world in which people enjoy happy, healthy lives within the natural limits of the planet, wherever they live in the world, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. The vision was devised by Bioregional, founded in 1994 by Sue Riddlestone and Pooran Desai, two environmental activists and campaigners based in Sutton, South London. They wanted to create practical green and sustainable initiatives.
“They were tasked to develop an eco-village,” says Ramsden. “They worked with developers and really wanted to reduce the ecological and carbon footprint of everyone who was living in that village. They were doing all the calculations, and thinking about the habits and lifestyles of people living in this community and realized through doing all the calculations that if everybody [in the world] lived like they did in Europe, at the time, then they would need the resources of three planets. They did the calculations for North America and if everybody lived like we do here we would need the resources of five planets. That’s when the whole One Planet Living movement was born.”
The One Planet Living framework is based on 10 simple principles that provide a clear, practical road map for those who are seeking a better and sustainable way to live and do business.
“One Planet Living has branched off into 18 or more communities around the world that are certified One Planet communities,” says Ramsden. “There are five pilot cities now that are using the framework and there are companies as well. Credo, moving into SOMO Village, the first One Planet community in North America, became the first One Planet school with their own action plan. They have goals and principles and really work to incorporate One Planet Living into everything that they do.”
The first One Planet YouthtSummit was held three years ago at SOMO village. Now that Credo High School is located there, the school hosts the summit. This school year the summit will take place on April 6, 2019.
Last year close to 100 youth, mainly high school students, from about a dozen schools in the North Bay attended the free Saturday event. The day started with students giving presentations of different projects they have worked on in their schools that correspond to the One Planet Living principles. After a keynote speech, various organizations and non-profits gave two-minute presentations to the students on what the organization does and any youth opportunities that they provide, such as internships, jobs, leadership teams, conferences, volunteer work – any way they engage with youth. During the subsequent lunch, provided free to all students, interested youth were invited to follow up with the organizations directly to obtain more information and network. The afternoon was spent engaging in hands-on skill building workshops.
Some of the organizations that participated in last year’s event included Recology which held a workshop on zero waste practices for schools; Schools for Climate Action, which spoke about zero carbon energy; Switch Vehicles, which demonstrated sustainable transport by conducting experiments making electricity from everyday objects; and many more. Workshops, experiments and hands-on activities focused on the 10 One Planet Living principles of health and happiness, equity and economy, culture and community, land use and wildlife, sustainable water, local and sustainable food, sustainable materials, sustainable transport, zero waste and zero carbon.
“The event… can help them gain the skills, the knowledge and the experience to build a more sustainable future and to help us live within what one planet can provide,” says Ramsden. “So often when we talk about sustainability - and high-schoolers hear it all around them every day - the world can seem to be a scary place and it can be very doom and gloom. The future can seem very scary and so I try really hard to make sure that when I’m talking about One Planet that it’s inspiring and exciting and they get to feel empowered. They’ve learned a new skill by the end of the day and feel recharged and ready to face the world with more confidence.”