FRANKE JAMES

What weighs on Grade 10 students’ green consciences?

by Franke James

Too Lazy to Compost

Too Many TV’s Left On

Consuming Too Much Stuff

Clearcutting in My Backyard



Creating Green Conscience artwork is a challenge. And the students did a magnificent job. Their artwork will be part of a display on living more sustainably at the Quinte Mall in June. I understand from Gayle that they will be interviewing people at the mall, and talking about their artwork.

Moira High school grade to class photo by Franke James

The Green Conscience Workshop

What’s Bothering Students Green Consciences? Well, last week I took the train to Belleville, Ontario to find out. I gave a Green Conscience Workshop to the Grade 10 Geoventure students at Moira High School (featured above).

Gayle Miller, Science teacher at Moira High School photo by Franke James

Gayle Miller, the Geoventure teacher at Moira High School extended the invitation to me. I met Gayle last summer at a Climate Change Camp sponsored by the Ontario Teacher’s Federation where I was presenting.

This was my first time giving the workshop to high school students. (Previously I’ve given workshops to University students or adults.) I wondered whether 16-year olds would be able to hang in through the process of the Green Conscience Workshop. Would they have short attention spans? Would they have real concerns about the environment? How would they respond to the question, “What’s bothering your green conscience?” Well, the first step was to give them the Green Conscience Test and find out!

green conscience test and drawing by Franke James

Thankfully they all passed the test — and like many people today, they had a myriad of environmental issues nagging away at them. But what to do? My strong recommendation to them (and to you) is to listen to your green conscience and then pick something challenging to tackle (I call it doing the hardest thing first). The artwork created in the workshop is just the first step towards taking action.

And what did the teacher think?

We all made the local news!

Remarkably, Gayle even managed to get the local Belleville paper, The Intelligencer, to show up for the occasion! T.J. LeBlanc wrote, “Author talks green with Geoventure students.”

“James… spoke to students about how they can positively impact their environment by making big changes.

“Do the hardest thing first,” James said. “Society is asking people to change light bulbs, but that’s not enough. We have to do more than change light bulbs. I think if we ask people to do something more ambitious they will rise to that challenge.

James book, Bothered By My Green Conscience, is a compilation of visual essays describing how James and her family went green by first getting rid of their SUV.

“Do something green and document it,” she said. “In that way, we become change agents and we can spread the message further and we inspire other people.”

So now you’ve read all about the Grade 10 students in Belleville…

Let me ask YOU — What’s bothering your green conscience? And what you are going to do about it?

Being “change agents” starts with each one of us taking responsibility. And the funny thing is — doing something ambitious for the planet is actually great FUN!

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