As part of Formula E’s partnership with UNICEF, to support the Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, Formula E invited youth advocates from UNICEF USA and the local Red Hook community ahead of the New York City E-Prix to make their mark on the Brooklyn Street Circuit and share their vision of a safer, healthier, more sustainable future.
Formula E gathered youth via a Digital Design Workshop, discussing questions including: “In the future, what does the city you live in look like?; How are nature and the environment impacted?; What does it mean for the way we travel, commute and connect?” After an engaging and inspiring conversation, Formula E reviewed the ideas and created a mural for the New York City E-Prix track.
The design, painted outside the famous hairpin at the Brooklyn Street Circuit, is made up of a variety of elements; representing what a safe and healthy environment looks like to youth in the United States, and how they wish to see attitudes towards sustainability and environmentalism changed for good.
Below, you can read more about the symbols on the track design with insights from the youth participants, including UNICEF USA constituents: Santha Rani, Salma Abdi, Maia Buljeta, and Carmel Alshaibiduring the discussion:
The hands and lightbulb: These show the inspiring vision that came through our conversation with a group of young people from across the country.. These elements represent people coming together, thinking about their impact and having a hand in changing the future. A youth participant explained : "The future is in all of our hands and we have a duty to protect the world for our future generations.
Another youth participant added, "We all want the world to be different in 10 years. I want to highlight what it means to be environmentally conscious."
Planting a seed: The seeds represent what a sustainable future can look like for local communities, showcasing one participant's insight: "We need to reinvest in communities and be taught how - starting with planting trees. Companies shouldn't be able to go to places and take resources without giving back. We need to reduce the issues like air pollution and have a positive impact."
Shoal of fish: One youth participant likened change to the idea of schools of fish: "The idea of turning the tide. You have diverse individuals going against the crowd of lifeless, no-future shoal."
Green rooftops: When reflecting on how to better connect cities with nature, one youth participant mentioned: "There are so many rooftop buildings, so what if we made those gardens? Nature is one of the best ways to relax. Plant, get flowers, be a part of nature."
Eye with keyhole: Another participant stated, "In the future there's more of an awareness of what causes environmental problems - we're more conscious."
Hands with book: Agreeing with the idea of being more conscious, a participant added: "Children should be taught to be passionate about ecology. It'd be taught like calculus and English are. It'd be an inherent duty young people would have."
Ear: The ear showcases how important it is to actively listen to youth, especially about climate change, with one participant explaining: "We can learn so much by listening to children. They're funny, they have empathy, there is so much adults can learn from children."
Socket plant and wind turbine: When discussing the future of sustainable transportation, one youth participant stated: "Electric transportation would be a great idea to have. What if every company had an electric bus for their employees."
Fists pumping: The fists represent the idea of a community actively working together, with one participant stating: "Everyone has a part to play."
Three fists: Adding on to the conversation of collaboration in communities. one participant said: "There's a South American social philosophy called "Buen Vivir" which means well living, where wellbeing isn't about the individual, but about the context of the individual in their community. A defining characteristic is the idea of harmony."
World in thought bubble: As one participant mentioned, in order to tackle something as large as climate change, it takes conscious thought: "This represents us consciously thinking about the world's problems."
Puzzle piece: Towards the end of the discussion, we reflected on solutions and how everyone can play a part. Participants stated:"Represents the idea of talking about the problem with people will help you solve the problem."
"There's so much we can learn from the refugee youth. They understand what it's like to not have access to basic things but they learned how to come together with people from different parts of the earth and share their stories.
"America has freedom of speech and we should encourage spaces where people come together from across the world, share their stories and empower each other."
Formula E x UNICEF, UNICEF's Safe and Healthy Environment Fund
In April 2021, Formula E started a three-year partnership in support of UNICEF's Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, which aims to create a sustainable, safe and clean environment for children. The Fund was created to deliver environmental programmes and policy actions for children and young people around the world.
READ MORE: Formula E x UNICEF
Formula E, like UNICEF, wants to accelerate positive change around the world, with its #ChangeAccelerated campaign to ensure children and young people grow up on a cleaner, safer planet. The funding from Formula E contributes to programmes and policy actions to improve the wellbeing of over three million children. Projects include initiatives to provide schools with sustainable energy solutions and reduce child exposure to air pollution through increased monitoring and advocacy.