Redmond High teacher wins $25,000 NEA Green Prize in Education, thinks Green is built on simple solutions

Sometimes I wonder if the challenges to green the data center is the confusion companies have in approaching the problem.  PUE as simple as it is as a metric can be confusing to a novice on where to start.  To be greener requires change.  Change requires a motivation.  What is the motivation for green?

In Seattletimes, there is an article about a Redmond High School teacher who won the $25,000 National Education Association award for Green Prize in Education.

Redmond High environmental-science teacher wins $25,000 Green Prize

Mike Town, who teaches environmental science at Redmond High, was presented the inaugural $25,000 Green Prize in Environmental Education from the NEA Foundation on Monday. The award was delivered by a grandson of undersea explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

By Katherine Long

Seattle Times Eastside reporter

Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.

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Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.


Cool School Challenge: The "Cool School Challenge" program can be downloaded for free at

When he was a boy, one of Mike Town's heroes was Jacques Cousteau, the French explorer and filmmaker whose "Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" brought the beauty of the marine environment to viewers around the world.

So it seemed fitting that when Town was awarded a national environmental-education prize Monday, it was delivered by one of Cousteau's grandsons, Philippe.

Here is a quote from Philippe Cousteau.

“The guiding philosophy of Mike Town's Cool School Challenge is that big changes start with small steps. His program provides a simple process that enables students, working together with their teachers, to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of schools, making a world of difference in their own communities," said Cousteau.  "The natural environment is a leading interest of many students and their teachers, but there are few resources to support them. If we truly want to save what my grandfather called our water planet then we must arm youth with the knowledge, skills and tools to take action to do so. Mike Town’s program is a great step toward this.”

Cool School challenge takes an approach asking for the motivation.

Conceptually modeled after the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, the Cool School Challenge aims to motivate students, teachers, and school districts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions schoolwide. At the heart of the Cool School Challenge is the philosophy that big changes start with small steps, and that taken together, simple individual actions create a world of difference.

This project was the unanimous choice as the winner.

The NEA Foundation created the Green Prize in Public Education to recognize and showcase an outstanding public school educator or program that best advances social and environmental responsibility, improves student learning, and can be replicated. Town was the unanimous choice of a prestigious panel of national leaders from the environmental, education, business, and philanthropic sectors.

Mike's passion is to leverage and be a multiplier.

The shaggy-haired Town, who describes himself as "an old hippie who happens to be an educator," decided to become a teacher because "it has this multiplier effect" — by teaching young people, he said, his passion for the environment can reach many more.

Here is a Google Map of other schools who have joined the program.


Could the same approach be used to green data centers?  Most likely yes.