Sustainable Hope: BVSD Students Don Green Suits for a Good Cause

Boulder Weekly

With each passing day, news about the state of the environment gets more alarming. As problems get worse, it’s easy to get disheartened, which is why University of Colorado theater and environmental studies professor Beth Osnes is trying a different tactic. 

“If the conversation is only about doom and gloom and loss, people are going to avoid it,” Osnes says. “When we start a conversation with delight, we’re going to have a much different conversation.” 

For Osnes, that comes in the form of a neon green spandex bodysuit. Now showing at NCAR through Sept. 30, Green Suits: Sustainability in Action in and around BVSD is a photography exhibit showcasing 80 photos from middle and high school students in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). The student photographers and their classmates donned green suits while exploring various topics connected to the environment. The exhibit is a joint effort between BVSD, EcoArts Connections, the UCAR Center for Science Education and Osnes’ Inside the Greenhouse project at CU.

Green Suits’ first iteration started several years ago when Osnes was performing in London and decided to grab a green suit from the costume department and head out on the streets to take some photos. Since then, her small afternoon of fun has expanded into an extensive photo project promoting sustainability throughout the globe, with pictures from all seven continents. 

“It really just started because it brought me joy. It was fun and whimsical,” she says. “It also communicated this vitality that I think we need to bring to the issue so people want to engage with it.” 

For the NCAR exhibit, students were tasked with creating a photo in the categories of energy, food, nature, transportation and waste. Students in green suits can be seen recycling, riding bikes, buying local produce and calling attention to energy inefficiencies like Christmas lights or our ever-increasing love affair with fossil fuels. 

The photos were judged by a panel of photographers and environmental experts, who then chose the first-place photo and bestowed the James Balog award, named for nature photographer behind Chasing Ice, an award-winning climate change documentary. The winning photo was created by Centaurus High School students Michael Marquardt, Jesse Perez and Charley Sagrillo and it shows a green-suited figure splayed out in the middle of a solar panel field. It was taken from 100 feet in the air by drone. Read more …

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