Alliance’s EmPowered Schools Program's Earth Day Challenge | Alliance to Save Energy

Alliance’s EmPowered Schools Program's Earth Day Challenge

Let's Save Energy

Alliance to Save Energy's Blog

04/18/23 /

Alliance’s EmPowered Schools Program's Earth Day Challenge

As we delight in the warming of the weather, the return of morning birdsong outside our windows, and the emergence of green shoots (and weeds) all around us, we also welcome another Earth Day—the fifty-third since its inception. It’s a good time to reflect on the progress we’ve made since that first celebration, and on the importance of energy efficiency and education to this mission.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, founded by a U.S. Senator and environmentalist from Clear Lake, Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. Originally envisioned as a national teach-in on environmental issues, it drew more than 20 million people into the streets in support of policies and action to protect the future of the planet’s ecosystems—still the largest single protest event in history. The event brought together key political and environmental figures, union leaders, and concerned citizens—young and old—across the country.

It wasn’t long after, in 1977, that two more U.S. Senators—Hubert Humphrey (from neighboring Minnesota) and Charles H. Percy from Illinois—founded the Alliance to Save Energy. Since that time, energy efficiency has played a leading role in realizing the goals of Earth Day. Energy efficiency has cut in half the amount of energy—and pollution and harmful emissions—needed to power our prosperity. And true to Sen. Nelson’s original vision, education has been a key engine of that progress. The Alliance to Save Energy continues to advance this mission through our EmPowered Schools program. Engaging more than 300 schools across the country, this program teaches K12 students—and through them, their families, loved ones, and communities—about the importance of energy efficiency in building a secure, sustainable future for our communities and our planet.

This year, the EmPowered Schools program is leaning in on our mission with the Earth Day Challenge. Students across the country are honoring the spirit of Earth Day by teaching their peers and families about the benefits of energy efficiency in mitigating the impacts of climate change; creating access to the burgeoning clean energy workforce; and helping to power a more equitable and inclusive society. Reflecting on the importance of that first celebration, Sen. Nelson said, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.” By learning and teaching the benefits of energy efficiency, today’s students are carrying forward the mission that Sen. Nelson articulated fifty-three years ago—one that they will help to carry on into the future.




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