Asking Kids: What is a Sustainable Neighborhood?
Challenging children to think in new ways can create a new generation of critical thinkers who are ready to solve tomorrow’s problems in revolutionary ways. Someday these children will influence environmental decisions and policy, and we support organizations like the Environmental Charter School and their “Earth Nite” festival that called on kids to use their skills and imagination to vision a new, green future.
Pittsburgh’s Environmental Charter School invited evolveEA to participate in their annual “Earth Nite” celebration. Among other sustainability-focused organizations such as the Green Building Alliance, Construction Junction, Artemis and many others, evolveEA took the opportunity to educate young environmentalists on the issues facing sustainability in and around their communities. We wanted to get the kids and their parents thinking about how the design and planning of a neighborhood impacts their carbon footprint. Games are a great way to learn so we used a series of boxes to represent different neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Each box had a different strength rubber band to hold the lid closed and kids had to put forth effort to pull them open, demonstrating the amount of energy that might be involved in living in different neighborhoods around Pittsburgh. We asked kids to think about why this might be so, given ideas like proximity to amenities, public transportation and their neighborhood’s density.
We had a lot of fun, and the children we talked to seemed really engaged in thinking about why their neighborhood encourages walking, sharing of resources, and public transportation.