We have a right to a clean city
Within an environmental science course at South Philadelphia High School, youth engaged in a month-long exploration of trash rights and responsibilities in Philadelphia along with environmental educator Ron Whyte and artist Margaret Kearney. The class investigated city systems as well as citizen rights and responsibilities relating to litter in order to develop a tool to engage residents, business owners, and other stakeholders in their community around the issue of trash. Participants interviewed experts and decision makers, visited key sites, and engaged in critical discussion and brainstorming. The class culminated in the creation of a colorful foldout pamphlet aptly titled “We Have a Right to a Clean City: A Practical Guide to Trash Rights and Responsibilities in Philadelphia.” In addition to student drawings and research, the guide features information about the benefits of greening, citywide waste disposal, and recycling services; resources to address illegal dumping; and ways residents can become involved and advocate for themselves and for their communities. The guide is multilingual to better support the diverse population in our targeted area of South Philadelphia.