the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Announcing the Winners of the Youth Sustainability Challenge

As representatives from around the world gather at Rio+20, young people are inspiring a new generation to help build a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Right now, representatives from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, to take part in a global conversation about sustainability and economic growth. The Obama Administration believes that engaging and harnessing the energy and creativity of the world’s youth is critical for long-term sustainability. Innovative ideas and actions often originate from young people around the world, and have the potential to inspire a new generation to help build a more sustainable and prosperous future. Accordingly, the U.S. is making every effort to involve youth as a core part of our sustainability efforts. 

That’s why we launched our first ever Youth Sustainability Video Challenge. Our hope was to showcase how youth are already playing an important role in the sustainability conversation. In early May, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, challenged youth from around the country to tell the world what they are doing in their communities to foster sustainability and help create an America, and a world, built to last.

The results are really quite impressive, and show how innovative young Americans are today. From high school students deploying a micro-grant program, to a young group of engineers creating a solar powered water purification system, the videos showcase a range of creative approaches to sustainability.

Submitted videos were eligible for up to five awards reflecting innovation, contribution to sustainability, communication, and popular choice. After careful review by a panel of Administration officials, the winners are:

  • For best overall: “A Generation of Energy: Georgetown Energy”

  • For contribution to sustainability: “Every Day Actions, Enduring Results”

  • For success in communicating sustainability: “Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program”

  • For innovation: “Operation Gulliver International”

  • The popular choice (voted by the public on “Growth”

Susan Ruffo is Deputy Associate Director for Climate Change Adaptation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality