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Port Coquitlam teen creates city-wide green challenge

From March 8-12, Port Coquitlam residents are encouraged to go meatless, give up their cars and do more to recycle, reduce waste and cut electricity as a city-wide initiative to slow climate change
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Dzenan Jauzovic and Kiera Van Veen (team leader) are part of the Green Team at Riverside secondary school in Port Coquitilam that is encouraging the community to live more responsibly by doing things like using active transportaiton such as skateboarding and walking.

A Port Coquitlam student is challenging residents and fellow students to a five-day green challenge March 8-12 in the hopes of convincing people to change their habits to slow climate change.

The initiative is the brainchild of Riverside student Kiera Van Veen, who is leading the project, with support from Dzenan Jauzovic, Ana Arango, Narissa Gillani, Ethan Fukuhara and teacher Brian Chan.

"I am a passionate environmentalist," said Van Veen. "I wanted to help make a change starting now, so I decided to start with my school, Riverside Secondary, where I created an event called Green Week. This is a week where students have the chance to create healthy and sustainable habits for the environment. This project soon expanded to involve our community, who will hopefully take some habits highlighted during our event, and use them in their daily lives."

Encouraging other Riverside students to take on the challenge has been easy because the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association has provided gift cards and a gift basket for prizes.

“I feel like it’s not that big of a step. It’s not that hard for people do in the first place,” said Jauzovic, who is helping out Van Veen by doing promotion for the week-long climate initiative and plans to follow through on all the challenges.

A pescatarian who doesn't eat meat, Jauzovic already uses his bike to get around while eliminating garbage, turning out the lights and recycling are also part of his daily life. He added that he's heard a lot of students are planning to do the challenge.

But for Jauzovic, if Port Coquitlam’s 60,000 residents also took the challenge it would have more impact. “(We) thought, ‘Let’s take this further.’ So far, everyone loves the idea.”

Those who participate in the challenge are encouraged to post photos on Instagram of their efforts using the hashtag #RSSGreenweek. Here’s the challenge:

• Meatless Monday: choose vegan options to reduce the necessity of having large cattle farms

• Lights out Tuesday: turn off the lights and light up your room with the power of daylight

• Transportation Wednesday: use alternative transportation such as walking, cycling, skateboarding or transit to reduce greenhouse gasses

• Trashless Thursday: use reusable containers and bottles; go on a walk and pick up litter

• Recycling Friday: bring recyclables to Riverside secondary from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. where pop, juice and alcohol container deposits can hep raise funds for the school’s green projects.