Youth makers making communities sustainable

Marcos Gonzalez

In my first blog entry for Invincibility Lab website I would like to write about how youth makers are the foundation for the present and future of sustainable communities. And you must be wondering, what is a sustainable community? Good question. What make a community sustainable are their people. That is why I started with the premise that youth makers are important for these communities.

Now, let’s go back to what is a sustainable community. Sustainable communities are communities where its members actively engage in practices that ensure the environmental, social, and economic health of future generations. For example, the members of a sustainable community are always thinking about future generations while they partake in the resources they have now. When we talk about resources we are not only talking about water and land, we need also to consider energy. Every time we use the TV or the computer, we are consuming energy that future generations, may not be able to enjoy. So, what we can do to ensure that the upcoming generation in our community could have an opportunity to enjoy of energy sources? Some of you got it right: renewable energy sources.

In M4C our youth makers have this issue very present when they start designing their projects. Most of the designs from the youth makers have a component of renewable energy. For example, the light umbrella from Ariel and the bird house heating system both use different forms of renewable energy, such as human or solar, which they figured out how to convert to electrical energy.

Another important aspect of sustainable communities is engaged, informed citizenship. That is, sustainable communities’ members are actively involved in their community’s problems. Every time the youth makers starts a new project, they collect data with surveys about the needs in the community. Once they have that information, they use it to incorporate new elements to their design or develop a product that can serve the community’s needs. The youth’s active role in identifying a problem and design a solution to that problem is an important characteristic of sustainable community members. Remember, a community is sustainable because of their members’ practices.

The youth makers in M4C demonstrate how to transform a community to a sustainable community with creativity and the will to help others. The sustainable future of these communities is secure when we create spaces for youth where their voices, ideas, and dreams, are heard. They are the principal community’s assets to attend the problems that affect them and find solution for their problem.

This entry was posted in Engineering, Equity, Identity, makerspace on by .

About Angela Calabrese Barton

Angela Calabrese Barton is a professor in teacher education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and social justice in science education, with a particular emphasis on the urban context. Drawing from qualitative and critical/feminist methodologies, she conducts ethnographic and case study research in urban community- and school- based settings that targets the science teaching- learning experiences of three major stakeholder groups: upper elementary and middle school youth, teachers learning to teach science for social justice, and parents engaging in their children’s science education. She also engages in curriculum research and development that links nutrition and science literacies in the upper elementary and middle school classroom.

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