What is the G7 Eco-Citizen Contest?
France continues its efforts to advance eco-responsible initiatives to put an end to single-use plastic and to support a circular economy from recycling to waste-free actions. In line with the objectives stated at the G7 summit, the Embassy of France and the ten consulates in the United States held a social media contest during November 2019 with the purpose of hearing from individuals in the U.S. involved in eco-responsible projects and actions.
In partnership with AWAKE concept and the ten participating consulate-generals, the top three contestants are issued to receive a limited-edition G7 AWAKE watch, a 100% sustainable product made from recycled fishing nets, featured by President Emmanuel Macron and world leaders at the G7 summit. Eco-citizens will have the opportunity to meet consuls and Embassy members to further their reach to other eco-citizens in their communities.
The G7 ECO-CITIZEN winners
Joe Wright, G7 eco-citizen winner, meets Ambassador Philippe Etienne and receives G7 AWAKE watch for his sustainability efforts in the Potomac River of Washington DC.
Joseph WRIGHT / SUP Garbage Man / Washington, D.C.
Joseph Wright is the founder of the SUP Garbage Man project, and uses his Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) to pick up litter when he’s out on the water. Since he started in May 2019, he has hauled in nearly 450 cubic feet of trash - roughly equivalent to the size of a 1960’s VW bus! Most of the trash comes from the Potomac River just South of Washington DC. In addition, he has also launched a social media campaign using the Instagram handle @SUP.Garbage.Man in order to document his trash collection finds and to inspire others to start collecting trash too. Joseph has always been aware of the trash that litters our environment, however he says that this project has further opened his eyes to the seriousness of the global problem surrounding waste. He is always looking for ways to adopt more sustainable behaviors, such as reducing his use of single-use plastics. Joseph encourages people to find something in their comfort zone that they enjoy as a medium for eco-responsible actions. For example, he is able to enjoy the peacefulness and freedom of being out on the water while making our environment cleaner and healthier at the same time. When it comes to sustainability, his advice is to know your passions, strengths, and capabilities, and how they fit in!
Hope LU/ Penn Eco-Reps / Pennsylvania
Hope Lu represents the University of Pennsylvania Eco-Representatives. Hope and the team at UPenn are part of an environmental leadership program that advances sustainability through the implementation of a wide variety of campus-based projects, ranging from improving recycling/composting practices to providing educational programs centered on biodiversity and ecological campus landscape management. One of their major initiatives is The Penn Relays Project, which aims to improve the sustainability of a 3-day track and field event that attracts over 100k attendees each year. During this event, the Penn Eco-Reps reduce bottled water usage and increase waste diversion by ensuring that there is an efficient water-filling system, as well as promoting the use of recyclable cups instead of plastic water bottles. They also install a 3-bin waste disposal system in key food vending areas to make sure waste is properly separated. With their supervision and strategic planning, the sustainability of this event is improved every year. The mission of the Penn Eco-Reps is to promote waste reduction, strive for energy conservation, and improve education and awareness about environmental sustainability. Hope and the Eco-Reps hope to continue improving sustainability on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania as well as the city of Philadelphia, so that students, staff, faculty, and residents of the region can all live a healthier life. It’s important that they continue to work in small groups and still manage to create change, showing people that anyone can help the environment no matter how big or small their contribution or action is.
Eric KRAKOWSKI/ Duchesne Academy / Nebraska
Eric Krakowski is the assistant principal and sustainability coordinator at Duchesne Academy in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2017, Duchesne Academy adopted a school-wide sustainability plan and aims to be zero-waste and net-positive energy by 2030. In pursuit of these goals, it also became the first school in Omaha to install a solar panel array on campus, as well as to institute a composting program. Because of these composting and recycling efforts, the academy has been able to increase the amount of waste they divert from the landfill from 49% to 78%, in addition to reducing their weekly landfill waste by 10 cubic yards. Eric Krakowski and the rest of the faculty at Duchesne Academy strive to help students make choices that are environmentally responsible, from reducing their use of single use plastics to encouraging them to pursue careers in environmental studies. Through incorporating sustainability topics across the curriculum, the academy hopes to educate students to “a social awareness which impels to action”. Eric believes that through education, hands on experience, and genuine concern for the well-being of creation, we can take action against threats facing our environment and set an eco-responsible example for others to follow.
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