AAFE partnered with the Human Impacts Institute this past summer to foster youth leadership on environmental issues. Here’s more from Go Green Western Queens Program Coordinator Than Htut Phoo:
In the summer of 2012, we recruited eight local high school students for a six-week environmental leadership development program, comprised of 16 workshops covering topics such as climate change, green infrastructure, energy efficiency, water management, recycling, tree care and urban forestry. We trained and organized youths on community organizing, community outreach and small business outreach.
Immigrants and under-served communities are often neglected when solutions to local environmental issues are being developed. People in these communities are frequently not well-informed about environmental justice and environmental health, due to cultural and language barriers. Environmental leadership development programs, such as this past summer’s initiative, empower young people to raise awareness in their communities and schools.
One participant, Tabassum Alam, said, “it was because of ‘Go Green Western Queens’ that I began to see the world through a different lens. It was the first time I actually took action and represented something that I was really passionate about. This program did an amazing job helping us teens represent the planet in the best way possible.”
Another student, Irene Lin noted, “Go Green Western Queens helped me learn a lot more about the environment and our ecological footprint on it. This program has also made me much more cautious about the purchases I make and the trash that I throw away.”
“I feel more comfortable opting out for environmentally-friendly options and am more likely to encourage my family and close friends to practice environmentally-friendly habits. This has been a very important learning experience for me and has really peaked my interest the environment” said Angela Chen.