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Project Drawdown


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Civics, Career Skills

Resource Types

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 14 seconds
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - South, Louisiana

Willie Jones III: The Future Is Full of Possibilities

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  • In this short, documentary-style video, Willie Jones III discusses his career as a green infrastructure technician in New Orleans, his personal story of pursuing this career path, his inspiration from the response to Hurricane Katrina, and his passion for climate justice.
  • Through watching the video and discussing the provided questions, students will explore the importance of one's culture and roots, necessary skills in the changing climate, the prevalence of energy use and the need for solar energy, and meaningful changes to address environmental racism.
Teaching Tips


  • The video's tone is hopeful about the future and what is possible in the fight against climate change.
  • Willie Jones III uses his life experiences to illustrate the connections between poverty, racism, and environmentalism.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with environmental justice, environmental racism, and gentrification.
  • The resource includes the video, a short description of Willie Jones III's story, discussion questions, links to learn more, and ways to take action.


  • Teachers can use the discussion questions to guide a rich conversation about culture, justice, and climate change.
  • Students can explore solar panels and other electricity-focused climate solutions using the links provided.
  • Willie Jones III highlights multiple nonprofits doing great work in his community. Students can identify nonprofits in their area that are climate justice-oriented and take steps to support their work.
  • Engineering classes can use this video to highlight an engineering-related green career, and students can evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of using solar-powered trailers to provide electricity after natural disasters.
  • Geography classes can discuss the specific environmental, cultural, and political characteristics of New Orleans that contributed to the challenges caused by Hurricane Katrina and continued challenges with flooding and other natural disasters.
  • Students can use this video as a starting point to explore green infrastructure and adaptation strategies.
Scientist Notes
This video is an interview with Willie Jones III, a Green Infrastructure Technician for Groundworks New Orleans. He discusses his life in New Orleans, environmental changes, racism, and how it interconnects. The speaker briefly discusses Hurricane Katrina’s impact on New Orleans. Jones also discusses current projects his company is working on to help New Orleans and its people be more resilient and recover from natural disasters.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Career Readiness, Life Literacies, & Key Skills
    • Life Literacies and Key Skills
      • 9.4.12.CI.2: Identify career pathways that highlight personal talents, skills, and abilities (e.g., 1.4.12prof.CR2b, 2.2.12.LF.8).
      • 9.4.12.IML.7: Develop an argument to support a claim regarding a current workplace or societal/ethical issue such as climate change (e.g., NJSLSA.W1, 7.1.AL.PRSNT.4).
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, qualitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
      • SL.PE.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with peers on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
      • SL.ES.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.
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