The green movement has had many famous supporters over the years, from politicians to movie stars to international athletes. But environmental sustainability may never have a larger and more boisterous champion than eclectic rapper and star coach of the hit show “The Voice”, Cee Lo Green. Cee Lo has been a prominent member of the hip hop underground for the better part of two decades, but rose to fame penning and singing the Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy”. Well, what he’s doing for the green movement in his hometown may be the most sane response to environmental issues ever. Along with his sister, Sedonna Alexander, he’s creating the GreenHouse Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.
The goal of the GreenHouse Foundation is to empower Atlanta schools to teach green initiatives, with the support of hands-on projects. Students from underserved areas will have the exciting opportunity to get involved with beautiful new community gardens, competitions to expand recycling, and clean-up rallies. The primary goal is inspiration. He wants these children to begin thinking about how they can take care of their community and empower fellow children to accept responsibility for the future of the environment.
The first initiative launched by the GreenHouse Foundation is called the Green Garden Education Program. Cee Lo’s organization is reaching out to school districts to create a partnership moving forward. The districts will have the support of the foundation in an effort to create gardens at each school that the children themselves will grow and tend to. It will give all the kids the priceless opportunity to experience sustainability firsthand and to learn more about how to be responsible for our environment. But at the same time, the schoolyard gardens will put math and science learning in a new, fun environment, outside the classroom and in a real world application.
The Foundation expects to begin with the school system and work their way out into the communities themselves. The gardens run by the students won’t only be aesthetic and educational, but practical as well. The eventual goal is to turn those gardens into contained farmers markets, bringing local, sustainable, organic foods right into the community. That’s a second opportunity to educate on sustainability issues, targeting members of the neighborhood who may not come across these situations in any other way. A second, upcoming initiative is called The School Waste Diversion. The goal is to incentivize school children to further focus on recycling by making a game out of it. The contests will begin within each school, and then grow outwards into the whole community, neighborhood by neighborhood, until it canvasses the entire city of Atlanta.
Cee Lo and Shedonna will add an extra motivation for students into the GreenHouse Foundation, in the form of various scholarships and training opportunities to prepare high school students for green jobs. It’s a fantastic idea, tied directly to need, and much more hands-on than some MBA online university program. If enough children take advantage, perhaps the program will grow to other cities in the state, and eventually further out into the region.