Sustainability Challenge

"The choice we face is not between saving the environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline."


Get Involved

In the lead-up to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the Obama Administration is challenging America's youth to lend their voices to tell the world what they are doing to foster sustainable communities and help create an America built to last.

America's youth and young adults have unlimited potential to generate innovative solutions to environment and energy challenges, and make an impact in their homes, schools, communities and beyond. As countries around the world prepare to gather at Rio+20 for a global conversation on sustainable development, this is an important time to highlight the link between economic, social, and environmental progress here at home. We need your energy, innovation, and expertise to create and advance the sustainability solutions of the 21st century. Share your story, mobilize others, and demonstrate how all Americans have the power to impact health and quality of life in their communities.

Submit Your Video

Winning videos will be chosen by a panel of Administration officials and featured at the U.S. Center in Rio during the conference. Challenge winners also will be invited to the White House for a special event on sustainability leadership.

The official launch of the Youth Sustainability Challenge is now on YouTube: Watch here. Let's keep the conversation going! #EarthDayEveryDay


Ensuring Clean Air & Clean Energy

Clean Air & Clean Energy Icon

Click here to learn about the Administration’s energy and environment initiatives.

Energy Star

Save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

EPA Energy Conservation

How clean is the energy you use?  Find out, and discover where you can find clean, green energy.

Energy Savers

Learn about practical solutions to save your energy use at home and on the road.

Energy Star Home Energy Assessment

Perform a home energy assessment, the first step in making your home more energy efficient.

Energy and Environment Home Audit

Build on your home’s energy efficiency, and take steps to become more environmentally friendly.

Protecting and Enjoying America’s Lands and Waters

America's Lands and Waters Icon

Click here to learn about the Administration’s conservation agenda.

Youth in the Great Outdoors

Discover places and opportunities for outdoor learning, and search the one-stop shop for federal student internships with the Department of the Interior.

Youth Conservation Corps

Conduct projects to help restore and protect public natural, cultural, and historic resources.

America’s Great Outdoors

Keep up to date with the initiative that made community-based conservation a priority.

EPA Water Use Checklist

Learn some simple steps to reduce home water use.

EPA WaterSense Program

Learn how to make smart water choices.

Take Pride in our Public Lands

Find opportunities to volunteer across America and help promote the stewardship of our public lands.

National Park Service

Volunteer in our National Parks and help care for these special places.

Use this database to find recreation areas, campsites, tours and permit locations near you.

Supporting Healthy Living and Communities

Healthy Living and Communities Icon

Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Help to break down traditional silos among housing, transportation, and environmental protection.

Choose My Plate

Access resources on nutrition and health to help you achieve your ideal diet.

Let’s Read. Let’s Move

Volunteer this summer and prevent summer reading loss and childhood obesity.

Community Preparedness Toolkit

Step-by-step guide to start a community preparedness initiative in your neighborhood.

Promoting Education and Healthy Learning Environments

Education and Healthy Learning Icon

EPA On Campus

Learn how to enroll your school in EPA’s ecoAmbassadors program.

Green Ribbon Schools

Encourage your school to promote an environmentally friendly learning environment.

Schoolyard Habitat/Outdoor Classroom Program

Learn how to create wildlife habitat at your school.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

Get involved in this critical part of building a healthy and competitive nation.

My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College

Explore ways to choose and pay for your education beyond high school.

TEACH Campaign

Learn how to build a career in education.


In 1992, world leaders came together in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to discuss the challenges of promoting economic prosperity, building healthy, open and just societies, and ensuring the health of our natural resources. The Earth Summit was the largest international meeting on the environment ever convened, and produced several important agreements to promote sustainable development.

From June 20-22, 2012, government, business and civic leaders will again come together at "Rio+20," formally known as the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to discuss new challenges and take action to build a healthy and sustainable future. Enter the Youth Sustainability Challenge and join the conversation by telling the world what you are doing to create a healthier community, country and planet.

Learn more by visiting the UN Rio+20 website or the U.S. Department of State’s page about the conference.