City Youth in Boston inspired to fight climate change

Boston youth continue to act as climate change awareness continues to increase. With this surge of local activism, the city hopes to encourage the next generation by educating and preparing them for the future that may lie ahead.

Due to reports that show a steady increase in the climate’s overall temperature, coupled with a generational sense of urgency, the increase of youth involvement has

grown dramatically over the years.

Ian Donnelly, special assistant to the Commissioner of the Environment Department in Boston, said the city’s Climate Action Plan is equipped to prepare today’s youth for tomorrow, especially through Greenovate Boston.

“Greenovate Boston is one of the biggest youth engagement programs that we have here” said Donnelly. “The program is geared specifically towards engaging people in the community, with a focus towards youth. Specifically to make sure that the younger generation, the ones who will be impacted by climate change long term, are able to engage in these conversations and have a voice in the discussion.”

To ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all, Greenovate Boston is working to implement programs that teach and encourage more environmentally friendly behaviors at an earlier age.

Donnelly said the city leadership believes the best way to do this is to start them young.

“We put an emphasis on the youth component here and making sure that the youths are a part of the Greenovate

Leaders Program and the Greenovate Ambassadors Program,” said Donnelly.

Boston is encouraging youth to compost of organic waste. The city believes it is important to educate and promote the practice of composting because it significantly reduces levels of methane emissions.

In 2015, Boston introduced their first com- posting project, the Project Oscar program. Through this initiative, citizens became enabled to reduce their carbon footprint by utilizing this 24-hour community compost program.

“We’ve seen a lot of great success through our

Project Oscar Program. Through this, we have a handful of public com- posting bins around the city that people can drop their compost off at,” said Donnelly. “This program has been way more successful than we ever could have imagined, so it’s been great to see residents and constituents engaging with that program and we are excited to take some next steps and grow that ability.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that about 24% of all waste is organic material that could be composted. According to the U.S Composting

Council, if everyone living in the United States com- posted all of their food waste, the result would be equivalent to removing over 7.8 million cars from the road.

The Boston Public School system will soon implement a sustainability office with an annual coordinator who will aid in the cultivation of a culture that is more sustainable.

“We’re really excited to bring someone in that will allow for that sort of cross-department collaboration to expand composting and reduce the amount of organic waste that is in the waste stream,” said Donnelly.