Homework for Tokyo Students: Fight Global Warming
We're not big fans of forcing people to do things. It usually doesn't work very well, has unintended consequences, and can create backlash. Better to inform and convince. But it's generally accepted that kids will have homework assignments, so why not something that teaches them about reducing energy costs, which are high in Japan, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
"Tokyo's Koto Ward Government is set to require all elementary school fifth graders in the ward to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home as part of their summer vacation homework, officials said. The ward will launch the project beginning in the academic year of 2008, which starts this April."
The thinking is that if kids get involved, parents will too, and that can transform the habits of a group larger than just school kids.
Prior to summer vacations, teachers at public elementary schools in Koto-ku will give fifth graders sheets on which they are supposed to record their specific actions aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions, such as "turning off lights in unused rooms," "setting the air conditioner to 28 degrees Celsius" and "shortening the period of taking a shower."
Awards will be given to the children, classes and schools that cut emissions by the most.