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Kids Work to Stop Climate Change One Poster at a Time

Article and Pictures Contributed by Raini Chugh and Neela Whatley


Sustainable Lafayette is dedicated to local schools and student groups who volunteer their time on sustainability projects. If that sounds like you, contact us today:


Congratulations to Kitty McAlister and Emerson Lynch from Burton Valley Elementary! Dylan Pierce from Happy Valley Elementary! Jasmine Taylor and Dasol Lee from Lafayette Elementary! And Chase Chang from Stanley Middle (now at Campolindo High)! These local kids won the No Idling Poster Contest for their schools last spring to help address one of the causes of climate change.

Project Earth team huddles before meeting City Council

Climate change is one of the earth's biggest problems. It dramatically increases global temperatures and rapidly changes our planet's geological landscape. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and animals are dying. All because of climate change. Also, a lot of natural disasters are being caused by it too, like floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and droughts.

That’s why we -- a group of students from Burton Valley Elementary -- created the Project Earth team. We are kids who are informing the public to stop the earth’s warming. Two years ago, when we were in third grade, we started Project Earth and began focusing on one of the many causes of climate change: idling.

Idling is when people leave their cars running when they aren’t even driving, and it’s wasteful and polluting to put extra gasses into the atmosphere. We noticed that when adults were picking up their kids from school, they were idling their cars while they were waiting. We did a science fair study to count the idling cars in the parking lots at Burton Valley, and we were surprised! We realized that a lot of parents were idling and might not know that what they were doing was bad for the environment, so we decided to inform them -- in a fun way!

Team huddle before morning announcements

With support from our school principal, Mrs. Dolley, one of the ways we raised awareness about this problem was to hold a poster contest for all the Lafayette schools, sponsored by Sustainable Lafayette. We sent out flyers to the kids in the school district. We asked them to create a poster to help educate people about how idling is really harmful to the earth.

Springhill Elementary sadly made the decision to not participate, but we were glad that every other school had students make fun and creative posters. More than 30 students submitted a poster entry for the contest. Over a few weeks, we reviewed the poster entries and chose winners from each school that had created the most clear and artistic posters that would help teach parents to not idle in our school parking lots.

Once schools are open again, Sustainable Lafayette will be printing and hanging the winning posters outside of all the schools for a while to help raise awareness and educate parents to turn off their car engines at pick up. Our next step is to research permanent no idling signs for Lafayette school parking lots.

The Project Earth team meets with Lafayette City Council members Steven Bliss and Teresa Gerringer, February 2020

In February, we met with two nice Lafayette City Council members on the City Transportation Committee, Teresa Gerringer and Steven Bliss, to explain the problem to them and see if they could help. They were very interested in our ideas and want to support our project! So that’s our next step, and we can’t wait!


By: Raini Chugh and Neela Whatley

Project Earth leaders and 5th graders at Burton Valley Elementary


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