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    ENERGY STAR Essay Contest Shines Spotlight on Energy-Saving Kids

    Saving energy is not just for grown-ups. As EPA’s Team ENERGY STAR has shown, lots of kids have become Share storydevoted to energy efficiency, too. They’re not shy about telling you why, either. In fact, hundreds of kids have entered the Team’s Share Your Story essay contest .  Several of their posts are featured in this special Team ENERGY STAR bloggers carnival. If you’re inspired by what even the youngest children have learned about energy and climate change (and who wouldn’t be?), why not ask your kids to enter the contest, too? The deadline for submissions is September 17.

    Anne at Flour Sack Mama reports, “When I gave my elementary-aged kid a chance to enter the Team ENERGY STAR essay contest, explaining that the focus was saving energy, she gravitated, on her own, to telling how much she loves trees. Sure, she learned the connection from the story of the Lorax.  But I think she gets it, on a deeper level, because she plays outdoors….Of course, the new Team ENERGY STAR initiative does a great job of tying one family's household savings into the bigger picture. Less energy used now means a brighter future for our kids and grandkids and for the place they need to call home long after the rest of us are gone.  At our house, it truly is the little things that we focus on, like better habits of turning off those light switches.  We also made sure to purchase the Energy Star model when we needed to replace our dishwasher.”

    Shane ES picture Shane at Environmental Booty proudly  posted the amazing video her young daughter made. The video shows a simulated conversation between two very “hip” sisters, one of whom has a lot to learn when it comes to energy efficiency. “My daughter and I, and even her two sisters, really had fun taking part in the Team Energy Star Share Your Story contest.  Sure, it took finding some time in our hectic lives that was certainly hard to find.  But it brought us all together to go green, created some fun memories with my girls, and gave my Lexie one more reason to feel good about herself.” 

    Wendy at My Green Side is homeschooling her nine-year-old daughter. When she suggested her daughter enter the contest as "homework," her daughter jumped at the chance. "I decided to look at our dryer in our laundry room. I found out there is not an Energy Star label for clothes dryers because most of them use about the same amount of energy. The Energy Star site had a tip to “air dry clothes whenever possible.” I decided we should get a clothesline to save electricity from drying our clothes. If the Lorax can save energy then I bet we can save energy too!" Make sure you read the entire post, and don't miss the great cartoon Wendy's daughter drew showing the Lorax helping hang the clothes to dry outside.

    Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green thought the Energy Star essay contest created a perfect opportunity to recognize kids who care about the world they live in - especially her niece. "Most kids don’t think twice about their environmental impact, not because they don’t care, but perhaps they have never been taught that the little things they do can make a difference. However, there are many children that go that extra mile, and turn their lights off when not using them, or turning the tap off while brushing their teeth. My niece is one of the latter." Her name, she says, is "Victoriax" (like the Lorax, get it?). Please take a minute to read her wonderful poem. I particularly like the stanza that says, "How do we help is the question that pops into your head; One of the many ways is we turn off all the lights before bed." Talk about an Energy Star!

      Hana at The Green Grandma decided to let all the kids in the GG community know about the contest. “The program is designed to recognize kids for what they are doing to save energy, as well as inspiring other kids and their families to get involved in energy efficiency.” Hana is also impressed that the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and are running their own Team ENERGY STAR Challenges. More than 150 Boys & Girls Clubs have signed on to participate and win prizes donated by LG Electronics. “This is a great opportunity for parents to learn a lot about what your kids know (or don’t know)” about energy, she says.

     Lynn and Corey at Celebrate Green ask a good question: “Is saving energy routine in your house or do you have to prod and remind your kids to turn off the lights and shut the fridge door instead of standing in front of it while making up their minds what to take for a snack?” Either way, they say, “you can help improve their energy wasting behaviors and get them thinking by suggesting they enter the EPA’s Energy Star contest.” Good point. Plus, they note, “Even if your child doesn’t win the contest, we’re betting that the discussion alone will help your family save energy and money as well as have fun!”

     At Moms Clean Air Force , Laura points out why energy efficiency matters. “By using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs we help give our environment a fighting chance. While small measures alone won’t solve our climate crisis, they do make a measurable difference. Last year in America, with the help of ENERGY STAR, the energy saved was enough to avoid greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of 41 million cars.” Wow! Savings like that go a long way to helping us reduce climate change and protect clean air.

     Calley at The Eco Chic writes, “It’s no secret that my kids are little eco-junkies just like their mama!  I was so excited when my son asked me to participate in the ENERGY STAR Share Your Story essay contest. When he found out that he could do a photo or video essay I knew that he would have fun... Two weeks ago before school started he took his sister on a tour of our home trying to find all the ways that we save energy every day.  He took photos as we turned off lights, turned up the A/C, and showed our ENERGY STAR appliances.  He really had a good time and it was cute to see him working together with his sister (who’s only 3).”

     Hilary at Accidentally Green  quoted the Lorax, who is Team Energy Star’s mascot and a favorite of her Lorax-face-480 children, as she urged her readers to get their kids involved in the contest. “But now,” says the Once-ler, “now that you're here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

    “Before your children get buried in school work this fall,” Calley recommends, “surprise them with a fun contest – it’s sort of like an environmental pop quiz, and you just might be surprised by how much they know. Maybe, just maybe, your son or daughter is already becoming a lot like the Lorax.”

    Lori at Groovy Green Livin' rightly points out that "Climate change continues to be a very real concern and childhood illnesses, including asthma and cancer, are on the rise. Team ENERGY STAR is asking that we get our children involved and encourage them to save energy at home-because we all know the future is in their hands." Lori has taken the ENERGY STAR pledge and is urging her community to do the same. Why?  "If every American household took the actions found in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would save more than126 billion KWh/year of electricity and save $18 billion in annual energy costs. We would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars."

     Paige Wolfe, at Spit That Out the Book, urged her community to enter the contest, too, because “Teaching the whole family to take small steps at home to save energy – like turning off the lights when you leave the room, unplugging chargers from the wall when devices are finished charging, programming your thermostat to save energy when you’re away, and changing out incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient ones – add up to big energy savings.” Paige says that in her house, “we’re pretty good about lights and water, but are still working on unplugging those “ghost energy suckers!”

      ENERGY_STAR_125_new Allyson at EcoNewNetwork alerted her readers to the contest, saying it’s important because “about 70 percent of the electricity we use comes from power plants that burn fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are extremely harmful to the environment, as they cause greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. This is one out of the many reasons why living an energy efficient lifestyle is so important.

    "What better way to get the American youth involved than through a fun contest like this from Team ENERGY STAR?”

    Sian at That’s Amasian shares her own experiences growing up in an immigrant household where nothing was wasted as she explains to her toddler the importance of saving energy. “Early on I found myself teaching my son what the word "waste" meant, as he would do things that toddlers do--open the fridge when there was no need, turn on the faucet just to play with it, fill his kiddie pool beyond what was necessary. I found myself struggling with this explanation. After all, how do you teach kids not to waste something when that "thing" is so intangible? They can't see the reservoirs that hold our water, or the consequences of an overly taxed energy grid.” She has found the Energy Star program a great way to provide a framework not just for her son, but for her and her husband, too.

    For Grace at HapaMama,"Growing up with a dad who was an engineer and also a budget-conscious immigrant, watching our electric and gas usage was just part of life. Back then, it was sort of embarrassing that we would hang our clothes to dry in the backyard, or that we would turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater instead. But as I’m raising my own kids, I find myself doing some of the things that used to annoy me, such as air drying our laundry a sunny day or using compact florescent lights instead of regular bulbs." Grace has some great tips on her post for being mindful about how we use energy. And she points out some fascinating facts, too. "Just two shade trees, planted on the east and west sides of your home, can cut your energy bills by 30%," she says.

    Harriet at ClimateMama wants us to remember that "amazing ideas flow out of the "mouths of babes."

    "While we know that the kids in our lives often model and emulate what we do, why not give them the opportunity to “shine” on their own and showcase what they know about being "environmentally sound and climate conscious global citizens!” Show the kids in your life how they can share their stories, videos, and ideas with the EPA’s Team Energy Star. ... When we help our family, our community, our place of worship, business or our school, we are setting an example of ways to help the world around us."

      Cyndi at Reduce Footprints included information about Team Energy Star and the Energy Star quiz in her “Change the World Wednesday” post focusing on kids – how to protect them and how to empower them. Thanks also to Asian Mommy, Keen for Green, Jenn, the Green Parent and MNN, and Ted at Environment Green for inviting their readers to join Team Energy Star and enter the contest.


    THERE'S STILL TIME TO ENTER: It’s not too late to enter the Energy Star Share Your Story Essay Contest. You have until September 17 before entries close. You can find all the details here. 



    Don’t miss the original launch carnival hosted at Big Green Purse:

    Kids Drive Moms’ Passion to Save Energy, Join Team ENERGY STAR


    Disclosure: I am working as a paid consultant to help promote energy efficiency and to encourage kids to enter the Share Your Story contest. All opinions expressed on my blog are my own. 


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    What a great way to start the week! So many kids are being exposed to and getting excited about creating a sustainable future. Love this! Happy we were included. :)


    What a great way to get kids thinking about energy efficiency! Thank you for including us!


    Each one of us (and our kids) CAN really make a difference..thanks for showing us how!


    What a great competition, I love when children learn about Environmental issues. That's hopefully how the next generation will be even more green than this one.


    Thanks for hosting and encouraging so many facets of energy conservation. Maybe there is some hope for the future...


    Agreed with you that less energy used now means a brighter future for our kids and grandkids and for the place they need to call home long after the rest of us are gone.

    Diane MacEachern

    Thanks for your feedback, Shane. And really, using less energy now has immediate benefits, too, in terms of improved air quality and money saved. There is really no down-side to energy conservation.


    Great post, I surprisingly had a good time studying it, keep doing the hard thoughts.
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