In February, 2011, the Human Impacts Institute (Hii) interviewed students at the Green School, a public high school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, about their view on the environment and youth. We asked about their environmental concerns and contributions. All of the teenagers surveyed expressed their care for the environment, but what issues matter most?
Trees and water were the top issues that came to youth’s minds, with air quality and wildlife being significantly less popular. And why do these students care about water and trees? Many of them replied that they care about these resources because everyone needs them for survival.
When asked what the best way to get other students their age involved in environmental workshops, one-third of participants thought “fun activities” where most important for youth engagement. Others enjoyed the idea of getting paid or receiving a reward for their involvement.
And what do youth think they can do to solve environmental problems? Their top choices were directly related to their biggest concerns: water and trees. For our participants, they thought drinking tap water and planting or caring for trees were top actions youth can take to make a difference in New York City.
In the Spring of 2011, the Human Impacts Institute will be providing an opportunity for Green School students to do just that. Hii will be partnering with the Million Trees Program and Nautica to bring our “Growing Our Roots” street tree stewardship program to Williamsburg and beyond.
by Melissa Mitchell, 2011 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Education Intern