Youth leaders converge to share climate solutions

by Amy Jolly, CCP  |  Nov. 24, 2015

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The
Center for Climate Protection’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) convened more than 50
students from across Sonoma County for the Green Teen Gathering on November 11,
2015.

Green
Teen is completely organized and facilitated by high school students
participating in YAB, with mentorship provided by the Center for Climate
Protection’s ECO2school program. The gathering drew in high school students
from ten schools, along with eight community organizations, to discuss ways to make
their school, communities, and the world a greener place.

Three
students delivered keynote speeches. Quiana
Stodder, a senior at Analy High School, opened the event by defining the climate
crisis for her generation, speaking passionately about how it impacts young
people. “Our generation is the future, but more
importantly, we are the present and we must decide right here, right now, what
kind of world we want to live in,” said Quiana. “We are the generation that
will shape the future of our planet, so it’s time we take a stand together and
start to live like the future matters,” she continued.

Christopher
Casciani, a junior at Montgomery High School spoke about the urgency of climate
change and its local impact, focusing on the drought and Middletown fire. Izzi
Rader, a senior at Windsor High School, wrapped up the speeches by imparting
words of inspiration to her peers, encouraging them to continue and even step
up their commitment to climate action.  

Green Teen
also features roundtable discussions in which all participants get a chance to
speak up about the challenges and solutions. The first round of discussions was
led by YAB, who facilitated ten table discussions on topics ranging from ocean
acidification to compositing, drought, and transportation.

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The second
round of discussions was facilitated by local, environmental non-profits
including Pepperwood Preserve, Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma County Bicycle
Coalition, and Sonoma County Social Advocates for Youth.

With
transportation accounting for 65% of Sonoma County’s carbon footprint, using
active or alternative, low-carbon transportation methods for school commutes is
the easiest and most powerful action students can take. The ECO2school
program works with student leaders to help them calculate their carbon
footprint and implement actions to reduce that footprint. In the 2014-15 school
year, students saved 40 tons or CO2 from being emitted. They are
aiming to save even more this year.

Events
like Green Teen serve to inspire and motivate youth leaders as they network for
more effective action today, preparing them to be effective leaders for even grander
impact tomorrow.

“Teens
can do more than we give them credit for,” says Amy Jolly, ECO2school
Program Manager. “They recognize that climate change is the number one
challenge facing us today and they want to be a part of the solution. They have
power and passion. ECO2school gives them the tools to gain leadership
experience, channeling their energy into action,” she said.

Amy Jolly is the Youth Leadership/ECO2school Program Manager for the Center for Climate Protection. 

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