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Building a Green Texas: Activating a New Generation of Sustainability Leaders

Funding: 
$280,588
Year: 
2020

Climate change disproportionately impacts low-income and otherwise marginalized communities that typically have the fewest resources to adapt. Furthermore, the very communities that feel the effects of climate change most acutely have been historically underrepresented in the fields of sustainability and green building. The Building a Green Texas (BGT) project helps address these concerns by giving high school students opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to tackle challenges posed by climate change.

Climate change disproportionately impacts low-income and otherwise marginalized communities that typically have the fewest resources to adapt. Furthermore, the very communities that feel the effects of climate change most acutely have been historically underrepresented in the fields of sustainability and green building. The Building a Green Texas (BGT) project helps address these concerns by giving high school students opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to tackle challenges posed by climate change. In the process, students gain valuable green career skills and credentials and become part of a green building school-to-job pipeline that will help contribute to a more diverse workforce. Texas-based nonprofit EcoRise, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Texas Marine Science Institute/National Estuarine Reserve System of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management will lead this robust, three-year project beginning in Central Texas in Year 1 and expanding into Houston and Texas Gulf Coast communities in Year 2. Through school-year field experiences and paid summer internships, students in the program will use established scientific evidence, citizen science, and an understanding of location-specific socioeconomic and ecological factors to explore current and future extreme weather phenomena and other environmental hazards facing their communities. They will gain real-world learning experiences and career exposure by directly engaging with scientists, civic leaders, green building professionals, and NOAA data and staff. As students help design community-based green building projects, they will consider scientific uncertainty, cultural knowledge, and social equity, in the real-world context of improving community resilience.

Competition: 2020: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA20SEC0080017
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2020 to 08/31/2023
PI: 
Abby Randall
State: Texas   County: Travis   District: TX35 
Partners:   National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Mission-Aransas, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Austin / School of Architecture, City of Austin / Office of Sustainability, City of Austin / Equity Office, City of Austin / Austin Energy, Austin Independent School District, BLGY Architecture, Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA), City of Houston / Office of Sustainability, Harris County Department of Education U.S. Green Building Council / Texas Chapter