The eighth Adirondack Youth Climate Summit is taking place November 3rd and 4th at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Over 25,000 students are represented by the 250 participants from 30 high schools, colleges and universities across the region. The program has created a White House Champion of Change and sent student leaders to the United Nations and COP 21 in Paris.
This year’s program includes National Geographic Explorer Alizé Carrère, who will talk about how communities around the world are adapting to climate change and how some of those solutions may be viable in the Adirondacks. Brian Stillwell from the Alliance for Climate Education is back bringing with him several ACE fellows, high school students from the Boston area involved in climate action. Other workshop leaders include Dr. Curt Stager from Paul Smith’s College, poet and hip-hop musician Larry Montague, and youth leaders from iMatter who will provide ideas and tools from their experience in Minnesota to empower Summit participants to take leadership roles in their own communities.
The Summit has been credited with financial savings and shifts in mindsets across the region. Students who participated over the past few years returned to their schools implementing change – creating school gardens to provide food for their cafeterias, expanding recycling and composting programs, replacing power strips with energy smart strips, examining energy saving opportunities by conducting carbon audits for their schools and presenting to school boards about their activities and financial savings, and countless community outreach events.
Each school will send a team including students, educators, administrators and facilities staff to develop their own actionable carbon reduction plan designed to decrease their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The summit is part of a year-round Youth Climate Program that engages youth in climate education and catalyzes action in schools and communities through youth-drive projects and leadership. The Program also has helped to seed Youth Summits around the world, bringing its unique organization and focus on youth leadership to Finland, Seattle, Vermont and Houston.