The Micro-mobility Wave
The Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) Program's mission is to teach students about environmental justice issues and gain leadership in community activism skills. The program is part of InterimCDA, a pillar in the Chinatown-International District that advances social justice and equity for low income, Asian and Pacific Islanders, immigrant, and refugee communities. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has worked with WILD for the past few years in order to support their mission and teach youth about air quality, how it disproportionately impacts certain communities, and how they can be stewards for change.
Past workshops have included showing youth how to read portable air sensors and understand the data as a citizen science approach to air quality and teaching youth how to build their own filter fans as a way to protect themselves from poor air quality. We decided to take a slightly different approach for the most recent workshop. We not only wanted students to connect the dots between climate change, air quality, and environmental justice, but also to learn that they can be change agents for a more equitable and healthy future. And to show them some everyday actions they can take to support a more equitable and healthy future.
We partnered with Lime, to showcase transportation options the youth can use to reduce pollution and single-occupancy vehicle usage. Lime offers "micro-mobility" options, like electric bikes and scooters, so that all communities have access to smart, affordable transportation options. The micro-mobility wave has hit just about every mid- to large size city in the U.S., and it is a great opportunity to reduce the dependence on single-occupancy vehicles for short distances. Representatives from Lime came to Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown-International District to teach the youth about micro-mobility and allow them to test ride the Lime-E electric assist bikes and Lime-S electric scooters (the scooters are slated to be piloted in Seattle in the fall of 2019). We rode around the park for an hour and everyone had a lot of fun while learning about some solutions to pollution.
We ended the workshop by exploring what other solutions and actions youth can take to create a more equitable and healthier planet. We talked about how to be active in the community, the power of using their voice, and bringing awareness to their peers and family. Currently, the climate change movement is being led by some incredible youth voices including Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden that has inspired thousands of other young people across the world to organize climate protests and marches, and Jamie Margolin, a Seattleite and founder of Zero Hour--a youth led movement to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice. We let the WILD youth know about these amazing young people and how they are an example that no voice is too young or too small to create an equitable and healthy future.
By Joanna Gangi, Communications - Equity and Community Engagement