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When it Comes to Saving the Planet, the Power Is Yours!

Photo: Courtesy of Bob Blob

Leesa Carter-Jones

President and CEO, the Captain Planet Foundation

Leesa Carter-Jones, President and CEO of Captain Planet Foundation, says the key to getting young people invested in a clean energy future is keeping them focused on the issues that matter to them.

What advice would you give to kids/young professionals looking to get involved in the future of clean energy?

Figure out what you are most passionate about in the field and let that be your fuel. For example, if you have moved into the field because of climate change, keep your learning and messaging focused there. If it is about an opportunity for green jobs, or environmental and social justice, or individual rights and submetering, lean into what makes you tick, and find a company or organization that is like-minded.

How can schools and businesses best educate the next generation of leaders on the current and future state of the environment?

At Captain Planet Foundation (CPF), we believe learning is strengthened by relevance to a student’s life. So it’s important for teachers to find tools and lessons that take concepts from the classroom and put them to work in the real world. Hands-on and project-based learning that lets students solve a problem they see in their own schoolyard or community is key. 

For example, CPF has a program called ‘Project Hero’ that connects science learning to the threatened and endangered species in a student’s hometown (based on zip code). Learning science through the lens of that species, understanding what environmental degradation or human-made decisions are causing that species’ decline, and then doing a project on behalf of saving that species awakens curiosity, stimulates imagination, and engages students. It also allows them to participate in complex problem-solving by engaging their empathy and not their apathy.

What is the most important thing our readers should know about creating and maintaining a “greener” planet? 

Everyone has a role to play. It’s important to look at what you are passionate about and then explore how your passion can be put to use for a healthier planet. 

If you are passionate about sailing, surfing or scuba diving, then maybe you want to get involved in helping reverse the plastic oceans crisis by encouraging local businesses to stop distributing single-use plastics. Doing an audit of your own life to eliminate as much of your own plastics consumption is also key. 

If you are passionate about gardening, then deepen your understanding about the decline of pollinators and encourage your parents, school, and local businesses to not use broad-spectrum pesticides and herbicides that cause pollinator decline. Get that RoundUp out of your parents’ garage and encourage them to use a simple solution of vinegar, Epsom salts, and dish liquid. It works just as well and is non-toxic to you, your pets, and pollinators!

What role has technology played in advancing education in the industry? Are there any myths surrounding the importance of ed-tech to the newest generation you’d like to debunk for our readers? 

Captain Planet Foundation believes we need to stop discussing ‘screen vs. green’ and focus more on how technology can help advance rapid adoption of earth-friendly practices.

Staff, [email protected]

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