This morning, students from George Washington High and Lankenau High presented their ideas for addressing environmental challenges to Mayor Kenney and other City leadership including Office of Sustainability Director Christine Knapp, and Dr. Shawn Bird, Chief Schools Officer for the School District of Philadelphia.

Recently, students from 16 Philadelphia schools competed in the Aspen Challenge, which provides a platform for young people to address pressing issues. Students were given eight weeks and $500 to come up with ways to fix problems in their communities. The challenge is sponsored by the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Students from George Washington High School, a City of Philadelphia designated Community School, proposed a program to promote drinking tap water over bottled water, and won second place. They created PhilaMundo- an environmental club to educate and inspire students to take actions to reduce their environmental impact.

Students from Lankenau High School replaced fluorescent light bulbs in their school with LEDs and cut energy bills at school by 30%. By encouraging students to also save energy at home, they estimate that they saved another 5% on energy usage in homes as well.

Both projects reflect the mission of the School District’s sustainability initiative, GreenFutures, and with the City’s Greenworks sustainability plan.

Mayor Kenney congratulated the students for their achievements, noting that their presentations were well researched and as compelling as a corporate board presentation. The Mayor encouraged students to stay active in addressing environmental issues, noting that while Philadelphia has made significant progress, we still face challenges in creating a truly sustainable city for all.

Christine Knapp encouraged students to continue their work, and to consider how to turn their passion into a career by exploring green job opportunities.

Students in schools throughout Philadelphia can also take action at school. Copies of the Greenworks Review can be made available to schools, and Greenworks on the Ground provides resources and information on how to make every day Earth Day.

Start your own sustainability initiative with tips and resources in Greenworks on the Ground