“We must be impatient for change. Let us remember that our voice is a precious gift and we must use it.” — Claudia Flores, law professor and director of the International Human Rights Center at the University of Chicago
Welcome to Day 1 of Project Green Challenge.
It’s October 1st and you are here to learn, to be inspired, and to mobilize around climate action, environmental sustainability and social justice. We are excited to embark on this month-long journey together. Project Green Challenge is designed to prompt questions, expand viewpoints, and empower each of you with the tools to be the change. However you’re feeling – ready for what’s to come, uneasy about the unknown, overwhelmed by the state of the world, or just eager to get going – it’s all just as it should be. And we will be here to walk with you, just as we have been for tens of thousands of students over the first 10 years of PGC.
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to talk about your WHY.
Why were you inspired to sign up for PGC? Does it have to do with the environmental challenges we face daily? Have you become more aware of social injustices and want to address inequities and prejudice in our communities? Do you see a fractured world and want to repair it?
2021 has presented an opportunity to make the change we want to see in a world desperate for justice. The coronavirus pandemic is leaving in its wake blatant injustices that have been occurring for centuries and become dramatically visible in the past few years. People of color across the US are the ones who bear the brunt of the pandemic, natural disasters, and environmental degradation. The climate crisis is wreaking havoc worldwide, with fires, storms and more leaving damage of unprecedented scale and forcing millions to flee their homes or remain in dire conditions. Still, younger generations continue to rise with strong voices, clear demands, and a fervent desire for change, offering a hopeful glimpse into the better future we can, must and will co-create.
Thinking about what you, as a sole individual, can do to make a difference may seem daunting — which is where PGC comes in. We urge you to use Project Green Challenge as a platform to learn, to challenge yourself, and to connect with others around matters that are important to you, your community, humanity and our world at large. Every action you take, no matter how seemingly large or small, will have an impact — and lead to more.
To effect positive change, we have to start. Choose proactivity over apathy and commit to daily action in support of what you believe. From reading an article to sharing new information to having sometimes difficult conversations about current events, as you learn new things, that knowledge also reaches and shapes those around you. Today, on day one of PGC, you begin in one place as one person with one commitment — which will soon be thirty commitments over your guided PGC journey over the course of this month.
We believe in the power of one, and the capacity of YOUth to bring about tangible, positive, lasting change. During the next 30 days, you will have the opportunity to reflect on different themes, find your voice, mobilize and amplify — with friends and leaders online and off, as well as across social media, where we hope to see your posts tagging @TurningGreenOrg and #PGC2021 each day. By the end of October, you will be inspired and empowered to advocate for change in your lives, on school campuses, throughout local communities and across our world.
We possess the determination, know-how and innovative spirit to build a sustainable and just future, as well as the passion and commitment to keep fighting when things get tough. We are the future, so let’s make it one in which we want to live. We can’t wait for you to be part of the 11th annual Project Green Challenge. Let’s begin the journey from conventional to conscious!
PGC is proud to stand with movements, organizations, companies and platforms that believe far-reaching impact begins with small changes. We will be introducing you to our like-minded partners each day. Today’s partner, Acure, is on a mission to steer people toward a lifestyle and products that are better for you, formulating with only the highest quality ingredients that are safe for both people and planet. Shifting the items we use on our bodies, the purchases we make, and the way we approach daily routines are paramount.
We’ve selected a song to kick off PGC, March March by The Chicks, because it is so in sync with what we hope you take away from your PGC experience. The first line says it all, “March, march to my own drum. Hey, hey, I’m an army of one!” And we hope you go forward over the next 30 days knowing that YOU are a peaceful army of one who can and will change the world!
PGC is about transformation — and transformation is a process. In order to transform, it is vital to first understand who you are right now at this very moment. That way, you can look back at the end of this month and personally see the difference, the growth, the change.
This is the official beginning: your first challenge of PGC 2021! To get started on your journey of learning and change, watch “Dear Future Generations: Sorry” by Prince EA. Read through each bullet point below. Take some time to think before writing 50 to 100 word responses for each question. Follow the submission instructions under “Deliverables.”
Next, fill out the PGC Entry Survey here. We will ask you to fill out the same survey at the end of PGC, so you can see the measurable impact of the 30 days. There are no right or wrong answers!
(Pay attention to this format, as it will be the same each day, and we want you to excel throughout PGC.)
Upload your responses to the questions and a screenshot of your PGC Entry Survey completion in a PDF document. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.
We never truly know what the future holds — for ourselves, for the planet, for our countries, for humanity. 2021 has shown us that the world continues to change even when life feels on hold, and that we can change with it. If you had the superpowers to control the future, how would you want it to look?
Watch Amanda Gorman perform her spoken word poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. Think about what her words mean to you, and how you can apply them to events and actions in your own life.
Upload your photo and caption in a PDF document and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username and school.
We believe one is a powerful number. Because every movement starts with one. With someone. Even though the state of our planet may feel overwhelming and you might not know where to begin, we deeply believe that one person has the power to impact big, bold change. Using your voice is a powerful act.
Make something creative that highlights WHY you are doing PGC. It could be a one minute video, written prose, song, poem, drawing, painting, or something else entirely — the format is up to you. Have fun! Express yourself! Craft something engaging. Think about the types of content that inspire masses and go viral on social media. Make this resonant, shareable and impactful!
Post your video, poem, drawing or creative piece on Instagram with a short caption. Be sure to tag @TurningGreenOrg and #PGC2021.
Upload a link to your video, poem, drawing or creative piece in a PDF document. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.
Phenomenal souls are moving mountains against all odds, using their voices, wisdom, actions and resources to propel movements with a massive ripple effect. This is the power of one!
Check out current recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize, an annual award (32 years running!) honoring grassroots environmental heroes for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Also check out the winners of the 2021 Brower Youth Awards, which recognizes outstanding and emerging youth leaders making strides in the environmental movement.
Pick one recipient who stands out to you. Picture yourself as a journalist writing a feature story about that incredible changemaker. Draft an article that will highlight their accomplishments and why they inspire you.Things to include:
Upload a PDF file of your article and three questions. Include a screen shot of your email if you sent your questions to the person in your article. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.
Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest outstanding submissions will be selected as winners.
Each winner will receive: