Green Initiative

Sustainable, sustainable, keep the Earth maintainable!

Photo of Shania Eazer
2 3

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

May 1, 2001

Where are you located:

Arizona: Tucson(85742), Marana(85743), Phoenix(85016) | Florida: Tarpon Springs (34689) | Oregon: Portland (97201) | Colorado: Denver(80206)

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://www.instagram.com/green.initiative/

Date Started

January / 27 /2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

Both my co-founder, Leilani, and I are young and hope to spend a lot longer on this earth. On a daily basis, we see trash and feel the effects on pollution (Leilani suffers from asthma). It upsets us greatly to see that it is so simple and easy to change our ways to be more zero-waste and to make the change to clean, renewable energy, yet it doesn't happen because of corruption and greed. Our earth is hurting and so are the people and animals, but our government does little to intervene in the destructive course mankind is taking. So, us being young and wanting to make a change, want to spread our message and get people our age to stand up and make our voices heard about this issue. If we do nothing then it's only going to get worse. It's our job to leave this earth a cleaner, better place.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are aiming to solve climate change, plastic pollution, greenhouse gases, and the overuse of resources like coal and oil. Many of these issues continue to occur because people refuse to accept their existence or they prioritise profits with little regard for natural consequences. As sea levels rise, the air becomes more polluted, and trash begins to pile up we won't have anywhere to go or breath. We want to prevent that.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We plan on spreading awareness and teaching the youth as well as anyone interested ways to be more environmentally friendly and what they can do to make an impact. We also plan on making changes within our own state's government by amending bills (specifically house bill 2131 which prevents the ban or tax on plastics bags and related items as well as senate bill 1487 which allows funding to be cut from places that implement these bans). We are making this into a club at schools and finding ways to make our school district as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, we hope to transition to juice and milk bags because it reduces waste. We are also in the midst of organizing volunteer gatherings to clean up pollution and illegal dumpings. We also plan on researching and branching off into smaller projects. One of these projects provides plastic bags to prisons so inmates can weave them into sleeping bags for the homeless! We also want to set up water stations and provide reusable water bottles to the homeless so they can have access to water while not using an excessive amount of plastic water bottles. Additionally, we are encouraging souvenir cups at universities.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

The Green Initiative has made its largest impact at a local high school called Mountain View where funds were obtained to invest in new disposal cans. Spots for trash, recycling and compost are now located around campus. Additionally, the school places boxes out for unwanted food which reduces lunch waste. Since national food policy requires students to select vegetables and fruits in order to buy a lunch, much of this unwanted food is wasted. By providing public boxes, people who actually want the sides can get them. This high school has covered it's parking lots with solar panels. It is even in the process of starting a garden on the roof of the school's gym. Previously unused space is now being employed by students to grow fresh produce.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The Green Initiative seeks to involve the homeless and prison inmates. We are aiming to establish gardens for the homeless to work in during the day and shelter in at night. We are also collaborating with a project where the prison inmates weave sleeping bags for the homeless out of plastic bags. The Green Initiative holds mobilization efforts to obtain the bags. Furthermore, we are a major proponent of agrovoltaics which is a system that combines solar energy with agriculture to maximize efficiency. We also have many different branches and ideas to help our earth, not just one.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

- We have gotten our school to spend $3,000 on new trash/recycling bins! We also prevented them from investing way more into new water fountains that wasted more water than they provided.
- We remove trash from a local lake
- We helped at buffel grass removal events to counter the threat posed by invasive species
- We have multiple students (15 so far) involved in gardening on a high school's roof
-We have met with the mayor of our city
-Leilani has also met with her congressional representative(discussed both gun control and the EPA)
-We are helping a local neighborhood with their illegal trash dumping problem (we also have a meeting with AAA to discuss us borrowing a landscaping trailer to hold the garbage which will let us make less trips to the landfill!)
-The water posts will help the homeless while not wasting plastic water bottles

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Spreading milk/juice bags throughout the school districts in the state/country.
Creating a garden on the school roof with irrigation run by solar panels!
Talking to different mayors discussing what they will do when we get house bill 2131 amended or repealed.
Cleaning up local parks, lakes, and neighborhoods that have trouble with illegal trash dumping.
We will start holding classes for composting, zero-waste, and sustainability.
Partnering with local grocery stores and prisons to make plastic bag blankets for the homeless.
Menstrual cups for female prison inmates (reusable, single investment, improve conditions)
Gardens & marketplaces for the homeless to sell what they grow.
Energy farms in Africa and the Middle East(agrovoltaics)

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We have support from some mayors(we need to amend house bill 2131 and they will either tax or ban plastic bags in their cities, specifically Bisbee, most likely Phoenix, and maybe Tucson? Marana is sadly a no). We plan on getting in touch with more mayors in our state(Casa Grande and Flagstaff to name a few).
We also are recruiting classmates and community members!
We are working with our school by creating a garden roof mixed with solar panels(got the approval we just need the funding)!
We need more companies interested in producing the milk/juice bags such as what is already successfully implemented in Florida schools
We need spaces for the homeless to garden so they can sell what they grow(to get them on their feet)!

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

A lot of other people(on here especially) have ideas on sustainability and promoting going green, we'd love to connect with them and combine our efforts and help them contact their governmental officials and discuss bans/taxing things like plastic bags, straws, Styrofoam, etc.
We have already engaged people within our school. They have helped us with what we should garden and have given us tips on the basics of gardening in the hot Arizona sun!
It takes a village, well in this case a world, to save the world. The more people we can talk to and the more people we can get involved the better. We have a lot of ideas for things that can be implemented in coastal communities(the homeless picking up trashing for money and more) and we want to be able to talk to people who live on the coast to see if they are interested or if they have a way to improve our ideas!
We are open to anything, if someone has an idea, do not hesitate to share. The craziest ideas are the ones that change the world.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

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2 comments

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Photo of Natalie Laky
Team

This is awesome! It's so important for us to address climate change and educate children about the environment. If I may make a pun: thank you for planting these seeds of knowledge!

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