My Green Team

Hello everyone, my name is Elizabeth Adesanya and I am in the ninth grade. I live in New York City where my classmates and I are trying to teach people in our community about caring for our environment.

There is always a way that we can help make our world a better place for us all. There are thousands of ways that everyone can help keep our world clean. For example, one of the easiest ways is to stop littering. There are a lot of people who think their actions do not impact the environment, but that is not true. We all need to take responsibility if we want things to change.

Recently, I have been learning a lot about “sustainability”. When I look at the word, I think about what it means for something to be “sustainable.” There are different ways that people support sustainability, especially those of us who live in cities. There are things we can all do at home to reduce waste and save electricity and water — like recycling, turning off the water when you brush your teeth and unplugging appliances when they are not in use.

Girls Inc.

There are also unique strategies that people in cities have used to “go green.” Girls Incorporated is an American non-profit youth organization “dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold”.

With Girls Inc. of New York City, I visited the 6,000 square foot Rooftop Farms in Brooklyn that grows all kinds of organic plants and vegetables.

This farm was very sustainable. They had two compost bins, one for tomatoes and one for other plant types, that they used to grow fresh and organic vegetables. The compost bins were separate because tomatoes have a certain acid that can prevent the other plants from growing quickly or from growing at all.

People in cities do not have as much access to gardens so building a garden on a rooftop is a way to be “green” in a city. Using rooftops in this way helps people in the city access fresh, local produce, which is not only “green,” but healthy as well. This is especially important for girls in high-risk, under-served areas with whom Girls Inc. works.

I thought of the Rooftop Farm as a good example of communities being sustainable because they are able to grow fresh produce without any chemicals, they use compost for their plants, and they use recycled and reused materials.

My Green Team

There are different ways that everyone can be sustainable in school. In my school, I am on the Green Team so I know what it means to be “green”. One of the things that we are trying to make “green” is our school courtyard. We have been working on it since the summer of 2009 and have made a lot of progress.

We are learning from people in the community who are involved in different environmental organizations. Now we have also started working on how to make sure that we use limited electricity so we don’t waste a lot of energy. We encourage our staff members to turn off their lights and shut down their computers whenever they are exiting their classrooms and offices.

We also made posters about recycling and keeping our school clean so we can feel comfortable in the space that we have. Basically, the main purpose of all of this is to make sure that we try our best to be as sustainable as we can be.

Who can be sustainable?

Based on my knowledge of global warming and climate change, I know that human health, agriculture, natural ecosystems, coastal areas, and heating and cooling processes are examples of climate-sensitive systems. Increasing sustainability in our society is a very helpful thing because it reduces waste and pollution, helping to slow the rising average temperatures, which are already affecting the environment. More damage will be done to the environment unless we all choose to be more sustainable.

Anyone can be sustainable anytime and by this I mean people can be sustainable at work, school, home and even on the streets. Instead of littering you can throw your waste in the bin and make sure to recycle when you can by placing the right items in the right bins (for example, bottles and plastic in the recycling bin and non recyclable waste in the waste bin).

Anyone can have a hand in helping our environment improve. People can help by creating a garden of their own, either on a rooftop, in a window or wherever space is available, even if it is not a “typical” garden. People can use solar panels to save electricity or at least turn off the lights and unplug appliances when they are not being used.

We can all have a hand in keeping this world of ours as sustainable as possible. We all want to live in a world that is clean and safe. To do that, the only thing that we can do is to believe in ourselves and make our world a greener place!

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My Green Team by Elizabeth Adesanya is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


Elizabeth Adesanya is 13 years old and in the 9th grade at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women. Her hobbies are learning and experiencing new things, singing, traveling and cooking. She has been a member of her school’s Green Team since it started last summer and has participated in many outside “green” activities. When she grows up she wants to be a pediatrician.