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College and university students across the world – but particularly those in the US, China, and India – are gearing up for some friendly competition to save the world.

Four groups – 350.org, China Youth Climate Action Network, Indian Youth Climate Network, and the Energy Action Coalition – are supporting the campaign that will run through the end of 2010.

Right now, in the first phase, the goal is to see how many campus teams they can get signed up from each country, so if you’re a college or university student, see if your campus has a team yet, and if not, start one: www.greatpowerrace.org

Later on this year, teams will earn points by implementing projects that promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a critical year for ramping up action to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption, so get involved – and good luck!

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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Georges DyerYesterday I was up at Phillips Exeter Academy talking to a group of ‘e-proctors’ – sustainability champions in each dorm who help green initiatives run smoothly from ensuring dorm-mates put materials in the proper recycling bin to getting the word out about visiting lectures and campus-wide events.

Most were juniors (“uppers” in Exeter-speak) and seniors with sights set on college – still, it was a bit surprising (and very exciting) to see so many high school kids engaged and enthusiastic about hearing the story of Second Nature and the status of education for sustainability in higher education.

Photo by Dr. James Garner Williams

They had great questions, and some of the seniors made it clear that they questioned their prospective colleges’ commitments to sustainability at every step of the admissions process – a powerful way to send the signal that this critical issue for incoming students (Princeton Review found this was the case for a good two-thirds of applicants and parents in 2009).

Jennifer Wilhelm, the Sustainability Education Coordinator, who has been doing a great job accelerating progress toward sustainability on campus, gave me a quick rundown of all of the things they’ve been doing – completing a campus sustainability audit, working on the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, signing the Green Schools Alliance Climate Commitment, teaching a senior seminar on sustainability, piloting a sustainability assessment program, and much more.

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