Meet Black Girl Environmentalist, Aalayna Green, plus Too Good To Go–preventing food waste. Discover Earth Echo International, and Earth Echo International announces 2021 Our Echo Challenge Winners.
Black Girl Environmentalist–Aalayna Green, Food’s–Too Good To Go, Earth Echo International & Its 2021 Our Echo Challenge Winners
TOO GOOD TO GO
When we started Veteran Compost Residential food scrap services in the Washington, DC region back in 2013, it was for two reasons. First because we were disgusted by how much food we were throwing into the garbage. And second because there was no full-service food scrap compost service in the DC area that took ALL food scraps—meat, bones, shells, as well as vegetative matter.
We owned and ran it for three years before selling VC Residential to our partner, Justen Garrity, and in that time we diverted almost 700K pounds of food scraps from landfills into some of the best stuff on Earth, good clean Veteran Compost, so we know what the company Too Good To Go is saying when they say on their website:
Each year 1/3 of food produced globally goes to waste. That wasted food is responsible for 8% of all GHGs. 8%. Unlike our food scrap compost service, Too Good To Go is diverting over-produced food BEFORE it becomes compost-fodder.
In the true spirit of European Union-ism, Brian Christensen, Thomas Bjørn Momsen, Stian Olesen, Klaus Bagge Pedersen, and Adam Sigbrand founded Too Good To Go in Denmark in 2015, while the app The application was co-founded in Switzerland and Austria by Jörgen Munter in France by Lucie Basch and in the United Kingdom by Chris Wilson and Jamie Crummie.
and here’s their Big Why: Food waste is putting the planet under enormous strain. Entire forests are cleared to grow produce that will never be eaten, and scientists have discovered how food releases harmful greenhouse gases when it’s disposed of unsustainably.
What’s the best way to do that? Connect customers to restaurants and stores with unsold, still viable food. They looked around, didn’t see what worked and was scalable, so guess what, now there’s an app for that.
By 2019, its app had logged 7 million users buying at a reduced price 10 million unsold meals that would otherwise go to waste from 15,000 food establishments. The duo received over $17.5 million in funding, allowing the service to expand into nine European countries, including the U.K., France, Germany and Denmark.
Under leadership of current CEO Mette Lykke pivoted the company toward direct contact with food suppliers like Unilever (think everything), Danone (think yogurt), and Nestle (not just chocolate anymore) during COVID to weather that storm. She also raised over $31 million to expand into North America. But really, why does that matter to us? Because a planet with no food waste is a better place to be.
BLACK GIRL ENVIRONMENTALIST, AALAYNA GREEN
Last week, The Climate Daily put the spotlight on Black Girl Environmentalist, a supportive community of Black girls, women and non-binary environmentalists. We also highlighted its founder, Wawa Gatheru.
This week, we’re showcasing some of the other BGE’s slayin’ it in the environmental space. Meet Aalayna Green (she/her). Green is a first year PhD student, studying Natural Resources at Cornell University. She’s a self-proclaimed, unapologetic scholar activist and intersectional conservationist. She conducts research on human-environment relationships and seeks to draw connections between Black feminist thought, food sovereignty, and the wildlife trade. She is the Co-Environmental Education Coordinator for Black Girl Environmentalist and she centers her activism on uplifting BIPOC women in the environment and in conservation.
Are you a middle or high schooler, or somebody who wants to explore a new career, perhaps in climate, but not sure what? How about Conservation criminology? Green was a featured speaker on an EarthEcho International, STEM-tastic STEMExplore Virtual Career Connection, speaking on the very subject of Conservation Criminology.
She also spoke on work she presented both in Limuru, Kenya and at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Gotta screen it. Fascinating stuff.
On why she’s a BGE, Green recently told Yahoo! Life, “Taking account the dimensions of gender, socioeconomic class and race that all ultimately influence how one relates to and experiences the effects of climate change. Understanding those dimensions ensures that any climate change activism isn’t going to be automatically catered to one type of person in society.”
To see more of what Aalayna Green’s up to, check out the Deeper Dive Section of this story on theclimate.org/episodes.
EARTH ECHO INTERNATIONAL
EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005, on the belief that youth have the power to change our planet. Established by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., and grandfather legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, our mission is to inspire young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future.
Earth Echo focuses exclusively on ocean conservation and youth. Why? According to their website (and science),The ocean and climate are inextricably linked. Covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns. For this reason, climate change—the warming of the earth and all of the critical problems it causes — is fundamentally an ocean issue.
Activating/engaging youth is key to building a durable conservation movement that can move with the speed and audacity needed to transform the future, and EarthEcho International is at the forefront of that work.
Earth Echo claims to reach more than 2 million people in 146 countries. The organization has three areas of emphasis: 1.) fostering youth leadership; 2.) mobilizing communities; and 3.) educating students and teacher training programs.
They sponsor both the EarthEcho Water Challenge and the OurEcho Challenge. Participants in the EarthEcho Water Challenge monitor water quality in their communities, share their findings through a global online database, and use the data collected to develop projects to protect water resources.
The OurEcho Challenge is designed to engage young problem solvers in understanding, respecting and protecting the amazing diversity of species essential for the future of our planet. Teams of middle school students tackle the decline in biodiversity head-on by identifying threats to natural resources in their communities and developing an innovative solution and action plan in the form of a sustainable process or prototype.
EARTH ECHO INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES 2021 OUR ECHO CHALLENGE WINNERS
Congratulations to the 2021 OurEcho Challenge winners! The OurEcho Challenge is a STEM competition sponsored by EarthEcho International that empowers U.S. middle school students (grades 5 – 9) to take a closer look at biodiversity in their communities.
Why OurEcho and why does the OurEcho Challenge matter? Like an echo, the impact of every living species resonates among all other life to create the balance on which we all rely. The phrase “When a butterfly flaps its wings in New Zealand…” is just as real as when a human destroys forests in Mexico, Monarch butterflies die. IOW, the echo works both ways.
Recognizing that half of the world’s biodiversity has been destroyed since 1970, the OurEcho Challenge empowers and engages young problem solvers in understanding, respecting and protecting the amazing diversity of species essential for the future of our planet.
How? Teams of middle school students, guided by an educator or mentor, tackle the decline in biodiversity head-on by identifying threats to natural resources in their communities and developing an innovative solution and action plan in the form of a sustainable process or prototype.
Middle school teams from across the U.S. submitted projects and the 3 winning teams have been chosen.
3rd Place and $1,000 to the Door 55 School, Medford, MA. This team is addressing the decline of insect species, specifically pollinators, through habitat enhancement, increased native vegetation, the adoption of organic practices, and observations at the bank of the Mystic River.
2nd Place, $2,000 to Benarcik Junior High School, in Aurora, IL. This team is restoring the native habitats in the Aurora, IL area by removing invasive plant species and replacing those with native, pollinator-friendly plants.
1ST Place prize of $5,000 goes to the Windermere Preparatory School in Windermere, FL. This team researched how growing beneficial algae can outcompete the harmful ALgul blooms in both salt and freshwater environments using the campus pond at Windermere Prep in Central Florida as a representative ecosystem.