Group of teens at Crown Family Y
Aug 3, 2018

Green Creation Crew Youth Explore Environmental and Social Justice Issues in Chicago

The Y’s Green Creation Crew (GCC) hosted a showcase at the Crown Family YMCA Center on Wednesday, August 1, to bring awareness to environmental and social justice issues. Green Creation Crew is a teen program, funded in part by After School Matters. 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 summer, 13 youth participated in the program. At the showcase, they presented environmental and social justice problems and solutions in front of their peers, mentors and YMCA staff.

One youth chose to explore raised garden beds. He explained the benefits, opportunities, and limits of a garden bed, such as they are wheelchair accessible, they are low-cost solutions for growing food, it protects plants from certain animals, and it can house most vegetables. He built a garden bed for the Crown Family YMCA Center's green space for under $60.

Environmental justice, a movement that encourages a healthy environment for all people regardless of race, nationality, income, gender or age, also took the spotlight as a discussion about Chicago-relevant environmental justice issues, like food deserts and food swamps, took place among the audience.

A pair of teens that worked together gave examples and tips on how to reduce waste in their homes by creating composts. These can be used in backyard gardens, or in community gardens, for those that live in apartment buildings and don’t have gardens. They also placed small compost containers in the Crown Family YMCA Center’s cafeteria for staff to use.

Other projects presented were about air pollution in Chicago, the benefits of replanting tree stumps, the pros and cons of different types of renewable energy, and more. At the end of the event, the youth cooked and served vegetables that they grew and harvested in the Crown Family Y Center’s outdoor active greenspace.

View photos from the showcase on Facebook.