Written by Sammy Lyon, Environmental Service Learning Coordinator, Environmental Charter Schools.
Engaging Youth in Urban Environmental Leadership At Environmental Charter High School — an urban patch of paradise nestled among some of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles — students use the environment as a lens to become agents of change. The school’s curriculum is interdisciplinary, authentically engaging students in real-world issues while achieving a 96% college acceptance rate. Many students are the first in their families to go to college. Through a program called Green Ambassadors, students
use the environmental lessons they learn in school to engage with community partners and take action beyond their campus. Green Ambassadors interns are fifteen and sixteen year olds who lead workshops to educate their community about food, water, waste, energy, and environmental justice and serve as “junior consultants”, helping local businesses reduce their carbon footprint by conducting sustainability audits and offering recommendations. Most recently, they partnered with Dogeared, a local Southern California jewelry company and certified B Corporation, to visit the facilities and evaluate four key areas of sustainability: Energy, waste, water, and community culture. SUSTAINABILITY AUDITS Students took their previous knowledge about the California drought, energy efficiency, and waste reduction methods such as composting and recycling, to develop a set of questions and markers to look at while visiting the company. After spending the day speaking with employees and department directors, students returned a month later to present their findings and make recommendations that promote sustainability practices, such as installing LED lighting and low flow toilets and replacing bubble wrap
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