Earth Optimism Youth Action

The Smithsonian has been partnering with Affiliates to address climate change, working with youth to develop project-based action plans tailored to their communities. Young people lend a critical voice in confronting climate change, and the Smithsonian seeks to empower and support them as changemakers. These fresh, innovative, and yet realistic solutions to the environmental issues we all face is truly an inspiration. In the spirit of Earth Optimism, we hope these ideas will motivate your environmental work with students, or help you get started. Let us know if it does!

Teen Changemakers for the Environment YouTube playlist has award-winning video solutions submitted by youth addressing their environmental concerns.

In Their Own Words: Youth Leaders at Affiliates YouTube playlist features students talking about what motivates them to environmental action.

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection offers a model and case studies for educators to cultivate student environmental projects.

This Padlet of Earth Optimism youth projects shows current student work around the country.

Both the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism initiative, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals inspired these projects.

Special thanks to the Global CoLab Network for their partnership on the Teens Dream Changemaker Challenge

Young Leaders Making News

Word cloud with assorted environmental key words
Earth Optimism Logo

At first we were overwhelmed.. what should we do and what could impact the community the most? Yes our project impacts our community.. but all of us have become very passionate about our message [to combat invasive species and attract pollinators], and I think that is one of the most important things.

I was so moved by these extraordinary films and their ability to both articulate a pressing issue and offer innovative solutions in the span of two minutes. If the UN’s SDGs are an urgent call to action, then these young filmmaker-activists are answering–with great vision and creativity and power. They are not only responding to some of the world’s gravest issues, but they are also teaching us exactly what we need to do to create a better world for all.

Working on this project has really helped me explore my creative side when trying to look at solutions
to these issues… t
his project helped me practice public speaking and has made me more comfortable and confident… this project has really made me consider working in environmental science or ecology. 

Word cloud created by students on issues they care most about. What do your students want to work on?