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Leading Across Borders: Sustainable Together

We will bring youth together from diverse communities to address local and global environmental challenges.

Photo of Patrick Arnold
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The vision is to create a movement of future environmental leaders who will collaborate together to learn about environmental issues in their communities and across the world. Leading Across Borders (LAB) will be comprised of both an online platform and chapter-based communities. In chapters, LAB members will take part in a guided curriculum to learn about environmental issues, develop leadership skills, practice advocacy and policy making skill-building, build strong teams for future work in the environmental and sustainability sectors. A core part of the model will be focused on building diverse teams and collaborating across different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic communities for collective impact. The modules will include: policyLAB - an exploration of how government policies impact the environment and how to influence policy change; leadershipLAB - how to develop as a leader to convene, lead, and inspire high-performing teams; activismLAB - how to start and sustain a movement; sustainabilityLAB - an overview of the history, key issues, and future of the environment movement; internationalLAB - a hands-on field experience to learn from communities abroad; communityLAB - how to work successfully with people with different backgrounds or approaches and how to ethically work outside of one's home community. The online community will enable collaboration for community members who cannot travel and to help facilitate the sharing of resources, best practices, and peer support. Each chapter will participate in a "gamified" experience, which will serve as rewards for the actions they take. For example, working to ban plastic straws in the school cafeteria will generate funding for chapter members to travel. During school breaks, chapter members will have the opportunity to take part in domestic and international exploration trips to see first-hand the creative solutions that other communities have used to address environmental challenges.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are college and high school aged youth who will be part of the next generation of environmental leaders. They will also have direct impact in their communities and communities across the world through their sustainability efforts.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

This would be the first project of a brand-new organization which is currently being organized under a non-profit fiscal sponsor.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.
  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

I have been running international youth leadership programs for 10+ years. This project is the refined version of the programs that I enjoy running the most and have the potential to be the most impactful on communities and our planet. I believe that working with young people is the most important time to create impact and behavior change. Finally, I'm convinced that by working towards a big common goal, individuals can begin to create empathy and reduce conflict.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

In many ways, all of our environmental problems have root causes made at local levels, often through consumption choices. By educating youth about the impact that a lifetime of decisions will have our planet, I hope that their actions and behavior change will be the first step towards sustainability. Further success will be generated through the contributions to community and government change.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We will work with schools, individual educators, scientists, activities, governments, companies, and community groups. The engagement with our youth chapters will help other stakeholders in the environmental movement get a fresh perspective from future leaders. As a long-time leader of community development and youth engagement programs, I know that successful programming comes as a result of partnerships and collaboration.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Today's youth in the U.S. and abroad are concerned that their governments are failing them end that they are going to pay the prices for generations of poor environmental policies and overconsumption. This project gives them a tangible way to make a difference and prepares them for their future careers.

Geographic Focus

I intend to start connecting the U.S. and Asia since U.S.-led consumption create issues in Asia.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The program can be launched and growing within 24 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jaci Braga

Dear Patrick.
Our ETIV Environmental Justice League (EEJL) is very similar to your proposal, although our we are focused on having volunteers and interns take action and work with younger children (ages 7 - 13) to get involved and become leaders as well. Please check out our proposal and our monthly action plan attached. I think that we could definitely collaborate and work together on building something powerful, and would love to incorporate some of the trainings that you have developed for your youth, which sounds excellent. I have also spend several years working as a community organizer in the US before moving abroad and focusing more on international development. Please check us out!

Best wishes,


Photo of Patrick Arnold

Dear Jaci,

Apologies for the long delay! EEJL looks amazing and a great model for me to learn from. Would you be interested in Skyping sometime so that I can learn more about the model and impact? If so, please feel free to connect at

Hope to be in touch!


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