Clean Step

May 26, 2021 | ChangeMaker Winner

Team Name: The Planet Programmers

School: American Heritage School

Grade: 10th grade

Project Title: Clean Step

URL of Project:


Write up:

In 2020, polar ice melted, temperatures soared, and a record number of storms made landfall in the United States —the most ever in one year. The UN recently released a report proving that only twelve years are left to limit a climate change catastrophe. Today, less than ten years of those twelve are left. As icebergs melt, sea levels rise, land surfaces sink, and global temperatures soar, it is only a matter of time before the world will be too far gone to salvage, and the generations after us will be left with the dregs of a once-plentiful environment.

This affects every aspect of human existence, and here in South Florida, we will be one of the first to feel just how devastating the effects of climate change will be. Soon, our distinctive wetlands, our beautiful beaches, and even our valuable coastal properties will all be submerged by the rapidly rising sea. But the impacts of climate change on Florida do not end here–– hurricanes intensify; agricultural conditions deteriorate; disease carriers spread; tourist industries lose value; water supplies are contaminated; flooding worsens; ocean acidification harms our marine resources; our air becomes more and more more polluted… And for what? Short-term comfort?

Enter, Clean Step. Our project’s goal is to unite our community not just in a struggle to avoid a catastrophic future, but also in a steady ascent towards a brighter one. Rather than use scare tactics or bombard people with statistics, Clean Step’s strategy is to promote sustainability through slow lifestyle changes that add up to a reduced environmental footprint. By coding our website, we want to increase awareness in our community about why climate change is an issue that affects everyone, and improve availability of information about how to actually help the planet.

Our decision to use HTML, CSS, and some Javascript to program a comprehensive website was founded on our belief in the importance of accessibility. Thus, our website targets people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds in the South Florida community. Focusing in on our area, while still staying inclusive to all types of people, allows us to provide detailed tips on exactly how to reduce each person’s environmental footprint.

The specificity and comprehensiveness of our information is what sets us apart from other websites. Not only do we clearly outline how and why climate change is having such an impact, we also make sure to scale that impact to a global, local, and personal level, so that our audience knows exactly what detriments could be in store. However, what is even more important about Clean Step is that we provide realistic solutions––from habit formation guides and recycling tips to seasonal recommendations, alternatives to harmful industries (such as plastic-dependent brands or fast fashion), and even advice on staying sustainable through the COVID pandemic. Through South Florida-specific advice, we address the issue of climate change by encouraging our local community to take action, no matter how small the actions may be.

In addition to our focus on helping our community address climate change, we cannot deny the massive personal growth this project has helped our team develop. It goes without saying that we have learned substantial information about sustainability; however, we have also gained abundant knowledge on the process and technicalities of website programming, which we were not previously familiar with. Notably, we had to adapt to different programming languages that we either had very little or no experience with. One of the most difficult aspects of this project was incorporating the CSS within the HTML, as we had to encode the CSS in separate files and call the formatting to specific attributes/classes of our website.

Despite the difficulties, it was extremely rewarding to see each page progress as we merged the separate elements/divisions of our website and organized vast amounts of knowledge. Additionally, realizing how complicated and nuanced it is to program a website was enlightening, and we now know that combining our skills in STEM with the topics we are passionate about can really make a difference. Overall, Clean Step’s priority is to pave a stable path for us and our subsequent generations to walk on. Even if we will never be able to erase our footprints entirely, let’s make our footsteps ones that will lead our future generations down a road they will thank us for.
-The Planet Programmers -Sarah D. -Kayla P. -Jennifer C. -Angelina W. -Anna P.