Sustainability solutions sought

Jersey City youth compete in Sustainability STEAM Challenge

Jersey City K-2 classrooms participated in the challenge by learning about the importance of green spaces and designing their own flag celebrating environmental issues. PS. 38 won the flag design challenge. The flag will be displayed at the school, city hall, and the Jersey City Board of Education Headquarters.
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Jersey City K-2 classrooms participated in the challenge by learning about the importance of green spaces and designing their own flag celebrating environmental issues. PS. 38 won the flag design challenge. The flag will be displayed at the school, city hall, and the Jersey City Board of Education Headquarters.

Students in the Jersey City Public School district are competing in the third annual Sustainability STEAM Challenge this year.

Through a collaboration between the districts Curriculum and Instruction Department and the Jersey City Office of Sustainability, students are challenged to find local solutions to climate change by identifying or improving local sustainability efforts.

The challenge

The Sustainable STEAM Challenge for students in grades K-12 uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) to address environmental challenges using problem-based learning.

Student teams in grades 3-12 are exploring issues related to climate action and have been challenged to identify and present solutions to sustainability-related issues they identified in their own neighborhoods.

Teams reached out to experts who answered their questions and helped identify solutions.

Although the original timeline for finalizing projects was disrupted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, teams presented their projects virtually to a panel of experts, city officials, and local stakeholders on May 28 and May 29.

Students will be recognized in the categories of most innovative solution, strongest community outreach, most creative presentation, and best overall project. Awards will be announced via the Sustainability STEAM Challenge website at https://sustainablesteamjc.org/ and Jersey City Public School’s website the following week.

The K-12 classrooms have been participating in the challenge by learning about the importance of green spaces and designing their own flag celebrating environmental issues.

The public voted on the designs of 12 semifinalists. The winning design from PS 38 will be made into a flag that will be flown at the school, city hall, and the Jersey City Board of Education headquarters. There were 76,163 votes cast in the contest.

“Our students have had to overcome unprecedented challenges over the past few months, and this STEAM Challenge is a unique program to inspire our youth and get them more involved in sustainability and their community as they identify challenges in their own neighborhoods and come up with real solutions,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.

The year of Climate Action

This year’s Challenge focuses on Climate Action as an extension of the city’s celebration of 2020 as the “Year of Climate Action.” This year the city will create its first ever Climate Action Plan that will outline a strategic framework for how to meet the city’s goals.

In 2015, the Jersey City Council passed a resolution to fight climate change in which the city pledged to increase the use of renewable energy to 80 percent community-wide by 2050, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent community-wide by 2050, and to purchase or produce at least 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, among other measures.

In 2017, Mayor Steven M. Fulop joined the “Mayors for Climate” Coalition following President Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Jersey City Council passed a resolution reaffirming the Paris Climate Agreement.

In 2018, Mayor Fulop also signed a letter of commitment officially joining the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

“We want to serve as an example for our youth, and are doing so with our continued efforts on the Climate Action Plan despite the pandemic to prepare for our future and the future for the next generation,” Fulop said.

The Year of Climate Action is led by the city’s Office of Sustainability, which is dedicated to finding ways to improve the sustainability of the city’s operations, raise public awareness of sustainable practices and issues relevant to Jersey City, and implementing sustainable policies.

To learn more about the city’s Climate Action Plan visit jcmakeitgreen.org/climate-action

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.