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Project Drawdown


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Civics, Career Skills

Resource Types

  • Videos, 12 minute, 29 second videos, CC, Subtitles
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey, North Jersey

Christian Rodriguez: Planting Possibility in the Ironbound

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  • This interview and its related materials focus on Christian Rodriguez, an urban farmer and community leader in the fence-line community of Ironbound in Newark, New Jersey.
  • Christian explains their role in educating the community's youth and affecting change, their inspiration for starting this work, and their experience fighting for the space to be themselves.
  • Christian's story and the story of their community include elements of environmental racism, hazardous conditions, and a lack of representation.
Teaching Tips


  • The interviewee shares a powerful message about being yourself that will resonate with many students.
  • The urban farm is a beautiful example of how people in communities can help bring about the change they want to see.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Before watching the video, students should understand how industrial practices affect neighboring communities.
  • It may benefit students to know the term regenerative economy.
  • The speaker talks about their experience growing up as a queer person of color. Prepare students to listen respectfully and maturely.


  • The speaker mentions composting, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and reducing over-consumption as some topics they teach to the community. Students can brainstorm ways to align their daily lives with these ideas.
  • Students can learn about the urban heat island effect and discuss how green spaces like Christian's keep the community cool.
  • Students can research other case studies where marginalized groups are disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution, contaminated water, and other environmental hazards. Students can then discuss solutions to the pattern of environmental racism in the United States.
Scientist Notes
This resource encourages students to learn about composting, ecological restoration, responsible consumerism, urban farming, environmental justice, and other tactical approaches to combating climate change.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
      • D2.Civ.8.9-12 Evaluate social and political systems in different contexts, times, and places, that promote civic virtues and enact democratic principles.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
      • D2.Geo.8.9-12 Evaluate the impact of economic activities and political decisions on spatial patterns within and among urban, suburban, and rural regions.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
  • Related Resources


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