United States, El Puente: Youth Involvement in Community Health and Environment, 1996-98

In the Fall of 1996 CIET began supporting environmental activities in El Puente’s evening program in which students from both El Puente Academy and from other high schools in the city participate. A group of young people calling themselves the Williamsburg Environmental Preservation Activists (WEPA) worked on recycling, household pollution prevention, water conservation and tree monitoring. WEPA members went door to door to gather information about knowledge of, and participation in, El Puente’s environmental education activities. In the Fall of 1997 WEPA and other groups coalesced into the “CHE Activists” who, during the Fall of 1997 and the Spring of 1998:

  • Carried out an experiment in measuring personal exposure to particulates in the home and at El Puente in conjunction with Rutgers University;

  • Visited elementary schools in Brooklyn to interest children in environmental issues;

  • Testified at hearings held by the Community Board, the Borough President, the City Planning Commission, the City Department of Sanitation and the New York State environmental authorities on the issues of zoning and the siting of Waste Transfer Stations;

  • Helped design, and conduct the 1998 asthma survey;

  • Traveled to Mexico in June 1998 to present the results of the asthma survey at the CIET training center in Guerrero State and exchanged experiences in environmental activism with youth from secondary schools there.