In October, three Year 12 Greengates students, Sao Mai J.,Sara de la R. and Sienna S. participated in Project Green Challenge 2023, an annual month-long competition focused on climate action, environmental justice, advocacy and activism.
At Project Green, students complete a unique challenge each day that focuses on an environmental issue. These challenges are accessible ways for students to deepen their knowledge while making a difference. Entries are judged on creativity, research skills and ingenuity, with prize packages awarded daily. As a team, Sienna, Sao Mai and Sara won 23 of the 24 challenges that offered prizes for their outstanding work.
"PGC has taught us that simple actions like reducing plastic and fashion consumption or choosing sustainable products can make a remarkable difference. We've internalised the urgency of our global climate crisis and developed a deep sense of responsibility, to the point where sustainability has become a habit. It's more than just a personal change; it's a complete reorientation of our values," says Sao Mai.
“One of the most impactful topics to learn about was Day 18: Fashion, which revealed the unsustainable and exploitative nature of the fast fashion industry. As teenagers, we are often associated with trend-following and are under pressure to engage in these trends. PGC not only gave us this newfound knowledge, they provided us with the means to take action and adopt sustainable practices.”
From December 2023 to April 2024, Finalists work with Turning Green and teams of mentors to implement CAPs before presenting virtually in April, when the PGC Champion receives a $5,000 award. The Year 12’s Climate Action Project centres around addressing the educational and sustainability challenges faced by the Raices community in Mexico. Recognizing the disparity in resource access, particularly in terms of water and nutrition, their team plans to plant mature fruit trees in Raices by April. To fund this, they will raise 30,000 pesos for fruit trees, organic compost, fertiliser, and herbicide.
“To achieve our budget goal, we hope to collaborate with Greengates—students, faculty, and parents—to collectively raise the necessary funds and contribute to the sustainable development of the Raices community. This CAP is not just a one-time effort; it serves as the foundation for a larger goal of fostering sustainability, education, and community empowerment.”
Sao Mai J.
Year 12 Greengates Student