A Call to Reduce Single-Use
It’s time to kick the plastic habit. As Jesuit institutions, we’re taking the challenge to reduce single-use.
Join the Ignatian Carbon Challenge—unite with other schools to respond to today’s environmental crisis and Pope Francis’ call to be responsible stewards of creation.
Step one: Join the December 5 kick off day of learning, prayer, and action.
Step two: Implement an Environmental Action Week in the spring of 2019.
Step three: Implement goals to make concrete changes on your campus through advocacy focused on your school’s administration.
During this challenge students and institutions will:
about proliferation of single-use plastics in the environment
and reflect on the roots of personal and institutional levels of consumption.
by scheduling a plastics audit at your school. Then sign the ecological conversion pledge to personally commit to reduce the amount of plastic in your life.
The Ignatian Carbon Challenge invites you to sign up and plan an Environmental Action Week! Educate classmates and administrators on the issues with single-use plastics, conduct a plastic audit, and kick the plastic habit for good on your campus!
The Kickoff Event
On December 5, Ignatian secondary institutions are invited to join in our program with a focus on single use plastic reduction using the framework of the Ignatian Paradigm.
Unite with Ignatian network schools in our work to care for our common home.
Learn: In the classroom, explore cross-curricular ways to address single-use plastics problems and solutions.
Pray: Join with your school community in prayer for the courage to change habits of consumption that degrade our planet.
Act: Complete a plastics audit to understand daily single-use plastic waste on your campus. Then, sign on to the Ecological Conversion Pledge to commit to the work to reduce single-use plastics at your school.
Connect: Local action creates global impact. We aim to reach a minimum of 1,000 students at 20 institutions through kick-off events, but our action is amplified by each individual who contributes to this work.
Help us unite the Ignatian network of over 50,000 high school students by taking the “Call to Reduce Single Use” Challenge!
Click here to access resources from last year’s challenge.
What are some ways I can make sure that students participate?
Use the year-long calendar of challenges to plan ahead and let others know how they can help. Find teachers with related curriculum to assign challenges for homework or as extra credit.
Incentivise students in other creative ways: Enlist key people with significant relationships with your students to talk about challenges and engage with students, e.g., coaches and advisors. Celebrate students and groups within your school for participation and achievement; a short thank-you letter from the principal or president would go a long way toward encouragement. Ask an elected town official to thank students for their efforts. Is there an environmentally friendly business or prominent alumnus in your community that might be able to recognize students with a gift card? Studies show that the most successful energy competitions are those where participants are engaged every step of the way. You may also want to use social media within your community to recognize student efforts.
As a teacher, I already have too many demands on my time, how am I supposed to implement this on top of everything I am already doing?
Agreed! We teachers are overburdened. The ICC will be very attractive to teachers because most of the hard work has been done for you. The challenges are not burdensome and you will be provided with lots of resources you can use with your students. We have an obligation to respond to the current ecological crisis and Pope Francis’s call to respond to Laudato Si, and this year-long schema of challenges will help you to do so.
How will participating individuals find out about the monthly challenges?
All challenges for individuals will be listed on the Ignatian Carbon Challenge page and will be emailed to participants on the first of each month.
How will participants be held accountable for their progress?
Participants will be sent a self-reporting form each month, or they can click on the “Track My Progress” link on the Carbon Challenge page. This should take less than 3 minutes to fill out.
How were the challenges designed?
The challenges were designed to be fun and doable for participants. Challenge designers know that finger wagging and guilt tend not to be effective motivators. The monthly challenges are thematic. For instance, in the first month, the theme is “fresh look.” The objective of the month is for participants to start to become more mindful of the environment and their choices.
Why does it seem like the challenges do not all relate directly to climate change?
The challenges are comprehensive, so some are directly related to climate change but others illuminate contributing factors, that is, attitudes and ways of being related to the current ecological situation and its resolution. Pope Francis refers to this comprehensive approach as “integral ecology.“ They are all related to themes within Laudato Si’. Some of the themes addressed within the challenges are: unequal distribution of environmental harms and goods, the gift of energy and how we use the gift, the interconnectedness of peoples, growing a deeper love of nature, ecological spirituality, sustainable production, finding the true costs of consumables (e.g., human, environmental, cultural costs), lifestyle habits that contribute to unconscious consumption, dietary habits, imagining our eco-future, physical wellness as it relates to sustainability, and the list goes on.
How does the “competition part” work? How will achievement be recognized?
First, achievement should be recognized in unique ways within your community. We want teachers and school administrators to exercise their autonomy and knowledge of motivating factors for their own students.
As a network, individuals will be recognized periodically through social media. This year, we will be tracking participants’ points (up to 20 available points per month), and the top 100 participants with the most cumulative points each month will be listed on the website and entered into a drawing for a CRS Fair Trade gift card.
Finally, at the beginning of the challenge all participants will fill out a baseline metric form. The entry form will provide challenge administrators with a baseline metric, from which to gauge success. Participants will take the same questionnaire at the end of the year. The questionnaire registers demographic information as well as knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors associated with sustainability.
When does the Ignatian Carbon Challenge begin and end?
The first challenges will be sent in September and monthly challenges will continue through May. The deadline for signing up is the end of November, in which case participants would miss the first two months of the challenge.
How will we know if the Ignatian Carbon Challenge actually makes a difference?
Ultimately, the Carbon Challenge is the first step in the exciting road to becoming more responsible citizens of Earth. There will be several indicators of our success. While carbon footprint reduction is an important and unambiguous marker of success, enthusiasm, mindfulness, and engagement are more subjective measures that will have even longer-lasting impacts over time. To some extent, attitude, knowledge, and behavior changes can be measured using the baseline metric results. Another indicator of success will be burgeoning relationships and connections between schools within the network.
Every month participants will be encouraged by statistics suggesting the impacts of one or more of the particular challenges.
Is asking our already overly competitive students to compete a sound pedagogy?
The Ignatian Carbon Challenge is really a common call to action. Although framed as a competition, the challenge is a way for us to take action, using the power of our sometimes underutilized network. It has been a year since the publication of Laudato Si’; the Climate Conference in Paris clearly established goals for nations–the time for action is now. We do not have the luxury of waiting.
Schools can and should autonomously celebrate their own successes in meeting the challenges.
I’m still not clear on the practical goals of the competition?
First, the competition should engage oour students. Challenges are not meant to be burdensome, but fun. Challenges catch their attention as a first step toward changing behaviors. Second, the ICC will educate. Students will come away with concrete information on what, why, and how behavior should change. Third, the challenge will motivate our students, enhancing their desire to change. This will happen through positive peer pressure, feedback, and recognition of an improved quality of life. Finally the challenge will empower all participants. Often our students do not believe that they can make a difference—the ICC will increase their perception and reality of self-efficacy by suggesting concrete and actionable behavior.
How does a more united Ignatian network help your school?
We have so much to learn from one another. Chances are we are all falling short of Pope Francis’ prophetic call issued in Laudato Si’. There is a facebook page for teachers who are helping to administer the challenges. Here we will grow relationships, post our successes and questions. Our sincere hope is that the challenge is just a beginning of our long road to sustainability and our future success in drawing down our emissions will be contingent on our willingness to learn from and work with each other.
The ICC will also promote camaraderie and connection simply by publicizing the progress of our counterparts across the country, using fun tweets, and updates.
Who are these challenges designed for?
Much of the motivating literature on sustainability targets grown-ups with economic independence. The Ignatian Carbon Challenge focuses on areas within the control of a teenager’s life. That said, all members of the community are welcome to participate, especially adults who will model growth and change to the students.