December 15, 2017
Last week, on December 7, the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Green Creation Crew (GCC) held a youth-led showcase and forum to bring awareness to environmental and social justice issues. The youth shared why the issues are important to them personally, why they deserve a spotlight, and presented solutions to resolve them.
Green Creation Crew is a teen program at the Y Center, funded in part by After School Matters. Here, youth from around the city get together to learn about local agriculture and sustainability in the classroom, and then develop and execute environmental efficiency plans. This fall session, 15 participated in GCC.
At the showcase, Amelia Evans, GCC instructor spoke about the topics they covered this fall session. Some of the topics included environmental identity, harvesting and gardening basics, green spaces, healing gardens, environmental and social justice and more. Throughout the session, the youth also went on field trips to the Glencoe Community Garden, the Bobolink Bird Sanctuary, UIC Latino Cultural Center and Shedd Aquarium. They participated in hands-on activities like the Ping Tom Memorial Park Clean Up, Seed Collection GLAD Action Days, a river cleanup through the Shedd Aquarium and a sensory scavenger nature walk. Another big project GCC worked on together was creating a season extender to protect one of their garden beds from weather extremes at the start and end of the growing season. This fall they chose to build a tomato tent.
This session, GCC members were broken into five teams to choose an issue that is important to them and present a solution to the problem. One team focused on energy conservation and suggested carpooling and using renewable energy as alternatives. Another team brought attention to the abundance of food desserts and how to help alleviate the effect of them through community gardens and organizing local farmers markets. Other topics included the Paris Agreement and the recent earthquakes in Mexico.
“Don’t ever forget how important it is to take care of ourselves and the environment. Remember YOU can make all the difference!” - Amelia Evans