#FindYourLab with Tomás Yan

Urban Green Lab knows a little change goes a long way when it comes to living sustainably. To help Nashville make that little change, we’re helping everyone in the community find their lab.


“I can see a new generation of students that are taking action and that are concerned about their future.

Tomás Yan
STEAM TEACHER
MNPS
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Tomás, where is your lab?

My Lab is at Antioch Middle School. I teach my students about alternative energy sources, the impact of humans on the environment and ecosystems, recycling, agriculture, urban planning, and more.

What has been your biggest challenge or question?

My biggest challenge is convincing my students that they play a big role in what earth is going to like, based on their decisions and the stands that they make today as consumers, future leaders, and as part of their community.

How did you get interested in sustainable living?

I was born in Venezuela and grew up in Puerto Rico. When I was growing up, I always heard stories about how cities used to be full of nature and fauna, but I never paid attention to that. Now that I am much older I can see it for myself so I am trying to make my students see it before it’s too late.

What keeps you motivated to make sustainable changes?

I can see a new generation of students that are taking action and that are concerned about their future. I have a three-year-old son and I would like for him to have a better world than the one we are living in right now.

What are you most proud of?

I was able to build a greenhouse at Stratford High School that was completely powered by solar energy. It had an automated hydroponic lab that could grow more than 100 plants inside. It had a rain barrel for collecting the water that it was used for the hydroponic lab. It had solar vents that regulated the temperature inside. The best thing was that all this was done by the students and teachers with the support of grants such as one from Urban Green Lab. 

Students in front of their greenhouse which is completely powered by solar energy.

Describe a time when you inspired others to live more sustainably.

This same project helped me get many teachers and staff involved, to the point where we even did a farmers market at the school and the students were able to sell their plants and all the profits were donated to a local community food bank.

Greenhouse and solar panels.

Name a sustainability champion that you look up to.

Greta Thunberg.

What is your sustainable vision for the city of Nashville?

My vision for Nashville sustainability is that we can have attainable alternative sources of energy, better recycling programs, accountability for big companies towards sustainability, and government funding for sustainability programs in schools and communities.

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