22 Jun Welcome to the OAK Garden
There’s one main problem facing everyone on the planet right now and that is climate change. For such a global problem, there can’t be just one solution. It will take everyone working together to make real changes to be able to avoid a climate disaster. This is our reality, which understandably makes many people feel very anxious and overwhelmed. What can I do in the face of such monumental problems? How can I make a difference?
Every one of us working at OAK Garden and our sister company OAK Network has had the same thoughts about the climate crisis and what we can do to help. Jessica, our Head of Non-Profit, left her sales career behind to learn permaculture and off-grid living on various farms in Europe, growing her passion for sustainability, before coming back to society and bringing her knowledge to OAK. Stella, our Communications Manager and amazing blog writer (hi), quit her job in publishing because she realised that she wanted to do something that she felt made a difference to the world around her. Both Jessica and Stella made a conscious decision to leave their previous careers behind and join the sustainability movement, a move which brought them both to OAK Garden.
So, what is OAK Garden? How are we helping and what are we trying to achieve?
As Whitney Houston once sang, we believe the children are the future. OAK Garden was founded to facilitate the transition to a greener tomorrow. We have a two-fold approach to this.
At our heart, this is what we do. We use cutting-edge sensor technology to monitor a school’s energy consumption, gathering in-depth data and analysing it to make practical recommendations to cut energy bills, eradicate energy waste, and reduce carbon emissions.
Optimising our energy consumption is a key part of reaching our Net Zero future. There is a lot of focus on where we get our energy from, which is of course extremely important (renewable technology yay!), but if we don’t maximise our energy efficiency, then this is all a waste of money, of energy, and most importantly a waste of our ever-shrinking global carbon budget. Energy management must be a part of our approach to a sustainable future.
Sadly, energy companies are not going to be the ones to tell you this. At the end of the day, the more energy we consume, the more money they make. This latest energy crisis has shown us more than ever that energy companies put profit above all else. Their bottom line is more energy consumed = more money made = more investment into future harmful ‘carbon bomb’ projects. Their profits are more important than the people of this country (Millions Face Fuel Poverty) and more important than the planet. We cannot rely on the energy providers to promote energy efficiency, we must take it into our own hands, which is exactly what we are doing at OAK Garden.
Climate Change education
While our main area of expertise is energy management, we are also aware that to enact real change we need to impact the next generation. Research carried out by Eugene Cordero at San Jose State University showed that receiving climate change education can directly lead to a reduction in personal and household carbon emissions by an average of nearly 3 tons per year. While this research was carried out using university level education, we are focussing on primary schools. In an ideal world, children would learn all about climate change and the related topics from primary school right through to upper education. By bringing these topics into everyday school learning, the next generation will be truly climate literate.
We don’t pretend to be education experts, but we do have working partnerships with several incredible education organisations who create much needed sustainable teaching resources. We work with Transform Our World, who are a teacher-led organisation creating lesson plans and resources for teachers to access for free. We recently partnered with Earth Warriors, who have developed a full curriculum of climate change resources for primary schools. We also work with School Energy Efficiency, who deliver the LESS CO2 programme, which works with a group of teachers to give them the knowledge and resources they need to be able to teach climate change and sustainability topics. The schools that we work with benefit from all of these amazing organisations and can use all their resources when and as they need them.
We are developing a few OAK Garden initiatives to help us achieve our education goals. We have created a sustainable education box to be provided to all participating schools, jam packed with teaching resources, gifts, and other educational bits. We are also working on a pupil platform that will enable kids to really understand and engage with their energy data and find practical ways they can reduce their energy consumption.
So, that’s us. We are working really hard to do our part in the fight against climate change. We want to empower children with the knowledge and support to be able to take control of their futures and by working with school management to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions, we hope we’re doing our part to ensure there is a healthy planet for them in that future.