YCC Project Highlight: American Indian Students Initiatives


The first Youth Climate Challenge was held in conjunction with the 2019 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit and hosted over 8 youth teams from communities across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This Challenge provided an opportunity to come together, focus on climate strategies and solutions, and advance resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. Following the Challenge, students were offered the opportunity to propose their projects for funding to implement. The following project has been awarded support for the 2019-2020 year.

About the Inaugural Youth Climate Challenge:

In collaboration with partners from across the region, the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Climate Science Alliance, and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals convened the second Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit in August 2019. The first Youth Climate Challenge was held in conjunction with this event and hosted over 8 youth teams from communities across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This Challenge provided an opportunity to come together, focus on climate strategies and solutions, and advance resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. Following the Challenge, students were offered the opportunity to propose their projects for funding to implement. The following project has been awarded support for the 2019-2020 year.

Project:

American Indian Students Initiatives

Team Members: Marison Bilagody, Dynikka Tso, Maria Pablo

Community of Impact: Navajo Reservation, Tohono-O’odam Reservation, San Carlos Reservation - Arizona

Our Story: Problems dealing with environmental issues are very prevalent across the country. In the United States, one of the biggest problems is the issue of the amount of waste that is dumped in landfills. In today’s age of convenience, where single-use containers and plastic utensils are used at all the time, it is easier than ever to add to the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. So reducing the amount of waste is an important first step to take in achieving that goal. The most common way is through the use of recycling programs to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. While recycling programs have become more and more commonplace all around the United States. It is not the case on Native American reservations across the country. On the Navajo Reservation, it is extremely difficult for people to dump their trash, let alone, recycle their waste. With people having to travel up to an hour round trip just to dump their trash at a Navajo Sanitation transfer station, people would often dump their trash illegally or burn it. We, as Native American students at the University of Arizona, want to change this reality on the reservation.

Our Solution: As students, we are currently putting together a club focused on pushing for and establishing programs on multiple reservations in Arizona to raise awareness and take action on the environmental issues that are so prevalent in these areas. Our club, which is called American Indian Student Initiatives, plans on working with three different schools on three Native American Reservations to establish recycling programs at said schools. We plan on working with Tuba City High School in Tuba City, AZ on the Navajo Reservation, Baboquivari High School in Sells, AZ on the Tohono-O'odham Reservation and San Carlos High School in San Carlos, AZ on the San Carlos Reservation. Our goals with establishing recycling programs at these schools are to raise awareness of recycling in these communities, reduce the amount of waste that ends. With this initiative and with this club, we hope that we will begin the push to change the environmental state of Native American communities across Arizona. We have big goals in the future that will help not only Native American families and students in knocking down the barriers that affect their daily lives but goals that will also help our planet. With this initiative, we seek to become the generation that our ancestors had hoped for.

About the The Youth Climate Challenge: An immersive experience that connects students with leading climate scientists, practitioners, artists, and fellow youth. In challenge teams, students are guided and challenged to identify and analyze the climate impacts in their own communities. Together, they investigate climate strategies and solutions and formulate action plans to implement in their sphere of influence.

To learn more about the Youth Climate Challenge, please visit: https://www.climatesciencealliance.org/youth-climate-challenge

To sponsor the Youth Climate Challenge program and the next generation of environmental changemakers, please visit: https://www.climatesciencealliance.org/support

#YouthClimateChallenge #ClimateKids #ClimateKidsTribes #BuildingCommunity

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