Have you seen the commercial for the Nissan’s new electric car, the Leaf? A polar bear leaves his melting Arctic home in search of shelter, and ends up wandering through a bunch of un-polar bear friendly places like a forest, a city street, beneath a highway overpass, and finally, into the driveway where a Leaf is parked. When the Leaf owner comes out of his house, the polar bear gives him a hug–its way of thanking him for doing his part to combat climate change. The minute-long ad is terribly sad, but not just because the polar bear’s habitat has been destroyed. It’s also sad because not everyonenot most of us, in facthave the money to go out and buy a Nissan Leaf, effectively saving the planet.
Fortunately, I know there are still plenty of other ways I can green my transportation and lower my carbon footprint, like walking, bicycling, or carpooling whenever possible. If I was a kid watching that commercial, though, I might feel a little left out. I’d want to help that polar bear, too! But according to the commercial, saving the planet is a job for grown-ups.
No more, thanks to Project Blue Planet, a challenge for middle school students nationwide to improve the environment for marine life. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has partnered with KIWI, Whole Foods Market, the EPA, and the NOAA to encourage kids to build teams and create projects that benefit sea life and educate others. And the really fun part? The winning team will be rewarded with an exclusive first look at the new seal and sea lion exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
The competition runs through April 30th, 2011, but sign up forms are available nowmeaning there’s no time to lose! Get the details and register your group today at the Project Blue Planet web page .