Project Planet Movement, Inc.
Founded an international 501c(3) non-profit that uses a three-pronged approach to tackle climate education.
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
https://projectplanet.world/ - website
https://www.instagram.com/theproject.planet/ - Instagram
https://twitter.com/ProjectPlanet6 - Twitter
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
After witnessing the California wildfires, I was shocked at the devastating impacts of climate change. With over 50% of Americans not believing in anthropogenic climate change, I realized that the lack of education is pushing us deeper into the climate crisis and that ignorance, not apathy, fuels inaction of masses. To bridge this divide, I started a non-profit that educates the future generations to empower them to make environmental changes.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We believe that it is important to tackle climate education with a multifaceted approach, so we combine research, activism, and advocacy to encourage action. Traditional climate education only covers the facts instead of actions we can take to initiate systemic changes. As a hub of resources, we arm youth with tools to become a climate change change-maker in their community. In our informative presentations at schools, we include science demos and crash courses on climate activism in addition to explanations about climate change. Our mentorship program guides students with their environmental projects. We have a blog and newsletter about climate change issues to encourage climate conversations. Our webinars and online comprehensive environmental curriculum for schools to access to continue climate education during COVID-19. We are working on improving bill SB-720 to increase CA climate education. Our ‘Do Your Bit’ program and carbon footprint app plans on increasing individual action. We incorporate social movements like the “1Human.1Tree’ Movement. Most of our resources are online and our in-person resources target low income areas to ensure that everyone can access our free tools
3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.
In our presentations, we host science experiments for students to better understand environmental damages to our world. For example, once we helped the students build their personal water filter from household materials and test its effectiveness. We use research to guide our social movements. Our "No Lead Acid Batteries" movement was inspired by my lead acid battery recycling pollution remediation research project conducted in partnership with UC Berkeley labs. We have directly consulted scientists in the environmental biotech corp Amyris to ensure the validity of our curriculum. We have a mentorship program, where we connect students to experienced scientists so they can be empowered to use science for positive environmental change and start their own environmental research projects. Our presentations, webinars, and curriculum explain complex environmental principles. Our carbon footprint app educates individuals on how to measure their own climate impact. We think that it is important for students to truly understand the science behind climate change in order to care for our planet, so we want to make science interesting for the general population, not just science enthusiasts.
4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
The California wildfires last year hit close to home for me. The fire’s smog worsened air quality near my school, so my school was closed for a few days. But our nearby counties suffered much more. Experiencing first hand some of the effects of global warming frightened me, and I wanted to make a difference to help lessen the effects of climate change. As I began talking to others about this issue, I realized that ignorance is what fuels the lack of climate action from most Americans. I learned that even in my community, environmental programs are underfunded and underdeveloped in low-income areas like West Oakland, so it is difficult for people to care about a world they know so little about and make a change. I started an initiative to increase environmental education by using scientific, multifaceted approaches to build a chain reaction of people who care enough to make a difference.
5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”
Climate change is one of the most devastating problems today. The complete extinction of our species and the end of life as we know it that nobody truly wants to accept. So many people have made climate change into a political belief than a scientific fact, as a result a majority of the population conveniently live their lives oblivious to the potential, real dangers of what could occur in the future. I wanted to change this narrative, and that is why I am stepping up to be a changemaker.
6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.
We have a community of 2000+ climate change change-makers that we have mentored and educated to improve their communities. We have presented at several organizations. We have held workshops, written blogs and newsletters, held fundraising events, initiated social campaigns, worked on petitions, and completed collaborations with scientists/educators/politicians. Our COVID-19 action plan is to help schools with our curriculum for grades 5-12, hold webinars, and bring most of our programs online.
7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Our main differentiator is our three-pronged approach which combines research, advocacy, and activism to boost climate education. We are a hub of climate education tools such as comprehensive courses, campaigns, petitions, science demos, and blogs that focus on using knowledge for action. We encourage systemic changes rather than just individual changes for a broader impact and educate others about climate action in addition to scientific information. Unlike organizations like Environmental Literacy Council that focus on 1 approach, we combine outlooks to provide access to life-changing tools.
8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?
In 3 months, we expanded to 6 countries and 15 chapters in the US. The team grew from 10 volunteers to 50 and impacted 1200 students (in addition to the 800 from last year). Our community of climate youth leaders started projects such as an algal farm, composting system, and climate march. Almost all of our students informed us of the changes they have made in their communities to be more climate conscious. We presented at 16 organizations. We launched mentorship program, 2 social movements, and webinars. We completed half of our virtual curriculum and finished the 1st draft of the petition, which have already gained attention and support. We introduced an environmental reading program called ChangeCycle to 3 schools. Our arts&science fundraising event was attended by Stanford politicians/scientists and raised 1K. We partnered with prominent organizations such as Society for Science.
9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
In addition to our current 6 involved countries, we have youth in 12 countries that want to start a chapter. We plan on expanding these branches to a total of 33 chapters by the end of 2020. Our goal by the end of 2020 is to mobilize 5,000 individuals worldwide with the resources they need to advocate for climate reform. Our carbon footprint tracking app, curriculum, and petition will be completed summer 2020. In the next five years, we want to reach 100+ countries, have a broader global network of politicians, scientists, and educators, and have a community of 25,000 climate change change-makers. We want to increase environmental literacy and climate action rates by 10-15%; we will use surveys to make this measurable.
10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.
We had an event at a school where we presented to a group of middle schoolers about the effects of plastic pollution. Rohit, a student at this event, started his own plastic collecting initiative in his classroom. This influenced his class of 30 students to partake in this activity in their classroom and introduce plastic pollution reduction at home. Inspired by Rohit's project, other students in the school started their own plastic and food collecting initiatives in their classrooms.
11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?
We want to partner with who already have an audience to share our message. We invite changemakers to become a guest speaker for our webinars, help us develop our curriculum more, and collaborate to initiate policy changes in their community. We would also love for other interested changemakers to start their own chapter of Project Planet in their community. Outside of the project, I would love to bring my science and activism background to other prominent climate issues like water scarcity.
12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?
80% of Americans don’t take any action to reduce environmental damage. We want to change the way that climate sciences are taught to bring forth the urgency of the issue and encourage climate action from the future generations, so they can have an equal opportunity to secure their future. We use a three-pronged approach in our free in-person and virtual resources which combines theoretical and practical aspects of climate sciences to educate the youth about this impending crisis.
13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $100-$1k
How did you hear about this challenge?
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges