In celebration of Earth Day 2012, Cultural Affairs and the Economic, Energy and Environmental Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa teamed up to deliver a series of seven presentations to over eight hundred elementary and intermediate school students in the Ottawa-Carleton area throughout the month of April.
Our team was accompanied by Larry the Lamprey, our preserved specimen of the invasive species—a lamprey eel, who sloshed about in a glass tube inviting a reaction of fascinated disgust wherever he went.
The presentations were interactive as students had opportunity to ask questions and learn about the impact of people, pollution and industry on the environment. The impact we each have as individuals on the health and vitality of this planet was the focus, as our experts spoke about waste produced through garbage and the energy and water that we can each take the responsibility to minimize use.
Topics included an overview of the history of Earth Day, the devastating impact of invasive species, and continued environmental concerns as well as to improvements to water and wildlife protection. A comparison of how families in China, India, Mali, Japan and the U.S. each impact the earth through their use of materials and goods was eye opening to students as each family was shown photographed amidst a gathering of all their worldly possessions. Finally, students were encouraged to think about how their own schools can become more eco-efficient, and to share stories as to what each of us can do to minimize our own ecological footprint.
At every school visit the U.S. Embassy donated a world environment set of Scholastic books to the school library enabling students the continued opportunity to expand their learning on a vast range of topics on environmental sustainability.