• Haein Shin

Eco Ambassadors are here (to stay & to scale)!

Environment in Action initiative of The Center for Sustainable Development(CSD) within The Earth Institute at Columbia University came about as a means to apply the knowledge and research of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory scientists at The Earth Institute to science curricula of schools and community centers in developing countries where the Center works in education spheres.

It soon became clear that regardless of country and setting, every community of learners can benefit from environmental education at homes, schools, businesses and communities.

By presenting science that is alive and relevant to the daily lives of students, the Eco Ambassadors program is meant to engage our next generation youth in all places, so that they can begin educating their own communities about local environmental issues and start small steps to solving these issues with community action. It aims to engage interested participants in meaningful ways, using Design for Change’s Feel-Imagine-Do-Share method. The initiative is in partnership with Sustainable Development Solutions Network's Global Schools Program.

The first pilot of the Eco Ambassadors program took place in Millburn, New Jersey. With summer months as the focus period, the program ran from June to September, from recruitment in June, workshop in July, project planning and action in July and August, to final presentations at a side event of International Conference on Sustainable Development in September. Details of the conference events that took place can be found here.

Our Eco Ambassadors took on initiative for awareness and engagement of various community members ranging from peers and family, to local businesses, township leadership and school authorities for sustained conversations at multiple levels (individual and systemic). Rather than having the projects be a one-time activity (on plastic reduction, composting and waste management, tree planting and biodiversity loss), the Eco Ambassadors, their parents and their community (educators, club members, even township leadership and officials!) are showing interest and looking to continue the program.

Based on our Eco Ambassadors' request, we will be holding the Fall 2019 kick off workshop in Millburn Public Library on Thursday, October 23rd (3pm-5pm) and Sunday October 26th (11am-12:30pm).

We are also exploring a partnership to a Columbia University chapter and continuing conversations for potential collaboration with students from CUNY and Kean University.

More to come in 2019 and 2020! We will keep you posted!

For questions (and interest!) on Eco Ambassador program, please contact: iyengar@ei.columbia.edu

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