PGC Finalists conceive, develop, and implement innovative, feasible, high-impact Climate Action Projects across a variety of themes, in partnership with Turning Green, mentors, ambassadors, teams, friends, advisors, teachers, administrators, and community members. CAPs take a solutions-based approach to a real world challenge on campuses and in communities. Following five months of hard work (between the November PGC Finals and the April CAP presentations), students present before a panel of judges on the measurable impact of completed CAPs, as well as what comes next on their activism journeys. Here are the PGC 2022 Finalists’ Climate Action Projects:
Jensen Coonradt: Seeds of Hope
Seeds of Hope fosters individual environmental activism by placing seeds in the hands of students and other community members. Seed libraries located in high school and public libraries provide native plant seeds for free to the public, already with great success. The goal of this CAP is to inspire others to help improve the environment and offer the education and tools with which to do so. Full summary here.
Tahlia Martignago: Letters from Jess
The book ‘Letters from Jess’ centers around an Indigenous and non-Indigenous child who become friends, learning together about how climate change affects them. This book introduces children to the disparities in physical, spiritual and emotional impacts, and how attitudes toward environmentalism are subsequently different. A complimentary resource for teachers covers the book’s concepts along with activities to develop student advocacy skills. Full summary here.
Lea Kyle, UB Green Team: Greening the East Side of Buffalo
To address the disproportionate effects of climate change facing the East Side of Buffalo, this CAP will transform an empty lot with flower beds, a quiet reflection and reading area, produce raised beds, a rain barrel, and a free community library for East Community High School. The space will serve as a community refuge from concrete and sun, as well as an outdoor classroom for students to learn about gardening and receive community service hours. Full summary here.
Corinne Fox: Biodiversity in the Grinnell Community
A seed-swapping event handed out native prairie seeds widely, attracting community members and gardeners, while encouraging people to bring biodiversity to their home gardens and local ecosystems to benefit the entire region. The CAP’s student and public education explores ways to increase biodiversity, including limiting bird collisions with windows, and why these practices are important. Full summary here.
Ema Svobodová, Team Burrito: The Story of Served
The app, the Story of Served, aims to reduce food waste in households, get people to reflect on their habits and think consciously about the amount of food they waste, and build strong healthy neighborhood communities that also fight loneliness. Even in Denmark, a country with one of the highest food security rates worldwide, approximately 1,214,000 tons of food ends up in trash cans each year — and this CAP will directly combat that. Full summary here.
Angely Rose, Team Trio Eco Wizards: Cambodia Youth Climate Change Conference
The Cambodia Youth Climate Change Conference (CYCCC) was created by youth for youth. 116 participants — including students, experts, and press from approximately 26 institutions and schools — attended CYCC on April 1st at LSi Business School. Of the 15 teams CYCCC supported with weekly workshops, mentoring, and optional funding, 9 teams successfully implemented their project and presented to judges from environmental youth organizations. 3 teams won the championship and 2 teams received honorary awards. Full summary here.
Rachel Lee, Team Significant Figures: A Sustainable Garden Project
To alleviate the large issue of waste at school, this CAP introduced new specific garbage cans to use for waste and began growing plants in both yards and the greenhouse. These plants will then be incorporated into a newly created Agricultural-Business course that will start next year, where students will learn about agriculture using what is grown on campus. Full summary here.
Mahfuzul Islam: Detection of a potential heat island in Dhaka city, its causes, and mitigation measures
Heat islands are a major concern in urban areas. It is the phenomenon where heat gets trapped in a certain place due to a city’s geography, topography and structures, and raises the temperature. Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and one of the most crowded, densely populated cities in the world. As it is situated in a subtropical region, the extra heat is a serious issue for citizens. This CAP seeks to detect, find the causes of, and mitigate the growing problem. Full summary here.
Valentín Cárdenas Alcocer, Team Altea: Project LU’UM
LU’UM is a project that recovers the cultural identity and knowledge of the Mayan people, seeking to solve problems from nature while adapting to new technologies and challenges. With the aim of creating a community interested in environmental action from both a social and economic point of view, this CAP’s educational programs and workshops focus on self-sufficiency, sustainability, cultivation and more. Full summary here.
Skye Hamilton, Team Hewitt 2024: Zero Carbon Fashion Footprint
In order to achieve the goal of a zero-carbon fashion footprint at school, the CAP first focused on creating a sustainable sweater for school uniforms. Next, a thrift sale offers the community a chance to become involved by donating and purchasing gently used clothing. These projects will reduce The Hewitt School’s fashion footprint, as students and community members become educated on the topic of fast fashion. Full summary here
Ashley Xu: Waste in Architecture
A pilot program to reduce waste in the Architecture program at the University of Texas, Austin began with the creation of a social media page dedicated to stirring up a conversation around waste in architecture, specifically at architecture colleges. In addition, this CAP seeks to increase the usage of the Materials Exchange program, find a way to negotiate prices for materials, and ultimately create less waste. Full summary here.
Yael Ochoa, Team Green Gurus: Recycling vs Reality
Students lack knowledge about recycling and the administration lacks concern about the issue — and this CAP holds the school accountable for failing to recycle. By surveying students, teachers and administration, gaps have been identified and action steps are being developed to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, including via video segments on the school’s news broadcast platform by the end of the school year. Full summary here.
Elma Jashim, Team Belmont Eco Club: Integrating Environmental Justice into Medical Education
This CAP addresses the lack of environmental justice teachings in medical education. Environmental injustices are one of the strongest social health determinants, with minority populations disproportionately facing impacts on their health as a result. Given the worsening reality of climate change, it is likely that environmental injustices will continue to exacerbate, and it is imperative that future doctors are equipped to handle this in clinical practice. By collaborating with curriculum development faculty at the Frist College of Medicine at Belmont University, an environmental justice curriculum will be designed and implemented into their medical school program. Full summary here.