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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Civics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 59 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Pennsylvania

Veni Mittal: Establishing an EcoDistrict, Being a Good Neighbor

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  • This video features an interview with an individual who has worked to develop her community of Etna, a borough of Pittsburgh, into the first certified EcoDistrict in the world. 
  • Students will learn what an EcoDistrict is and the ways in which community-driven sustainability projects, energy audits, and encouraging residents to be more energy-efficient can be be an effective climate change solution.
Teaching Tips


  • This video provides an encouraging perspective from a community that is working to develop a climate change solution and highlights the love and respect in the community of Etna.
  • Veni makes herself vulnerable as she shares about how to challenge oneself to speak up, even when feeling intimidated in a room full of people, and this may be motivating to students with similar fears.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may help students to understand what a borough is and to be shown the location of Etna on a map in comparison with the city of Pittsburgh.
  • This resource provides additional information below the video which may help provide additional context to the content, or could be used as extension activities.


  • Teachers can use the discussion questions listed below the video to promote classroom dialogue or as writing prompts.
  • Consider using the "Take Action" section below the video and have students write about ways they can advocate for change within their own communities.
  • In order to promote thought about career paths, put students in groups and ask them to think about Veni's path from environmental engineering in India, to energy audits associate, to her present work in a green career and discuss what it might have taken to accomplish what she has.
  • Have students watch this video about a science fiction thought experiment featuring a sustainable global city and compare this vision to the EcoDistrict of Etna.
  • As an extension activity, guide students through this energy audit lesson and podcast, which includes an energy audit of their own classroom and further learning about energy efficiency.
Scientist Notes
In order to reduce CO2 emissions, this video emphasizes the value of doing an energy audit and participating in environmental sustainability activities. It is ideal for motivating young people to take action to combat climate change. There are no scientific contradictions in the resource and is suggested for classroom use.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
      • SL.9-10.3 Understand and evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
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