NEW YORK—As the environment on this planet Earth continues to change—some say degrade—the call for green solutions can be heard reverberating from the hills and dells. It is in this spirit that some of New York City’s high school students have been challenged to get involved, and get creative, about some of the environmental problems that face us in these times of planetary environmental flux.
The students were challenged to do independent research and create projects on the topics of energy, deforestation, and brownfields as part of the One Planet, Many People Research Project, which is the co-brainchild of the Community Learning Support Organization of the New York City Department of Education and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). It is also in partnership with the New York Public Library.
For their research projects, the students had access to the public library research archives, as well as to all of the related research material at UNEP.
“This project allowed me to get more in-depth with a topic I knew a little something about. I can now teach others about aspects of and the realistic effects of globalization. My view on how the world operates is now different. I now realize that when things happen to people how it influences decisions our politicians make,” said Pedro Crespo, 10th grade, Murray Bergtraum High School, Manhattan, New York.
The competition aims to challenge students to create web-based presentations, performances and products that will inspire environmental action. It also provides a real-world learning opportunity for urban youth, who rarely have the opportunity to have their voices heard in a global arena.
Lamis Abdul Wahid, a student at Metropolitan Corporate Academy in Brooklyn, was surprised at how uninformed the average person is on environmental issues. He said, “This project taught me that brownfields have a heavy impact on the economy, environment and mankind. I was also very surprised to discover how many people did not know that brownfields existed, when we were conducting our surveys.”
The projects will be judged by representatives from the New York City Environment Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and McKay Thomas Architect Company. Awards will be presented by Amy Fraenkel, Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor for the UN Foundation and Deanne LaRue, Executive Director of the Meridian Foundation.
The competition and exhibition are named after the UNEP publication One Planet, Many People, which illustrates 30 years of global environmental degradation through satellite images. For more information on the Atlas see http://www.na.unep.net/OnePlanet.