What has come out of the Youth Climate Summits is beyond anything that seemed possible eight years ago. There are countless examples of how students, both leaders and those attending the Summits, have changed the world around them. This highlights a small selection of examples that demonstrate what youth, and their teachers, can do!
How much bio can a bio-digester digest, if a bio-digester digested bio? The answer, when the first bio-digester in the United States opens in Lake Placid in July of 2016, will be almost 900 tons a year.
On December 8th, North Country Public Radio (NCPR) aired a story about the ambitious project, spearheaded by Lake Placid teacher Tammy Morgan and high school senior Chris Williams. The bio-digester will "consume" food waste from the Tri-Lakes area, saving it from reaching landfills and converting it into usable electricity and heat. Where did Morgan first learn of the idea? In visiting the Finland Youth Climate Summit as part of The Wild Center team. When did Chris first get involved? After attending the 2014 Summit and gaining a sense of community-scale thinking.
To learn more about bio-digesters and how Tammy and Chris reached this point, read or listen to the article.
While America celebrated on Thanksgiving, youth gathered in Finland for the 4th Finland Youth Climate Summit. Brought together at Heureka, the Finnish Science Center, they learned about climate change and prepared to take action in their communities. This year The Wild Center joined them! Jen Kretser, The Wild Center's Director of Programs, and Gina Fiorile, an intern and an integral part of the Youth Climate Summit effort, traveled to Finland to present both a plenary and a teacher workshop.
On December 7th, 2015, an article entitled What Does Climate Justice Mean to You? appeared in the Huffington Post. It was written by Shannon Bartholomew, a Saranac Lake biology teacher, a core member of the Summit Steering Committee, and a COP21 Education Ambassador. She asked a simple question: Do you, personally, think you deserve justice because of climate change?
It is an important question. And even if your initial answer is no, she highlights instances of people - and nations - who can resoundly answer yes.
Read her article for a better understanding of what climate justice is and the role it plays in climate negotiations:
In late October of 2015, Saranac Lake became the first city on the East Coast to join the I Am Pro Snow initiative. The movement, founded by the Climate Reality Project, encourages winter sports communities to speak out about the impact of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. Why Saranac Lake, of all the cities in the Northeast? Because local Summiteers learned about the initiative during a leadership training held in the warm, sunny city of Miami, Florida.
Read the article that appeared in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on October 28th, 2015, discussing the historic moment.
Before the congregation of world leaders in Paris in 2015, before the world knew what "COP21" meant, there was a UN Climate Summit in our own backyards in 2014. Caroline Dodd, a member of the Steering Committee for the Summit that year, traveled to New York City to attend as a youth representative. Read more about her experience and what she took away at the link below.
In 2011, Hugh C. Williams High School in Canton Central went green in a new way. Instead of disposing of up to 35% of their food waste, the students began a composting program that ultimately fed their school garden. Kelley Corbine, then a graduating senior, was inspired to organize the effort after attending - you guessed it - a Summit in 2009.
At the 2011 Summit, SmartWatt Energy, Inc. asked that students take pictures or video as they were going around their communities handing out CFL's and informing local small businesses about the National Grid Small Business Program. Watch St. Regis Fall's video!
At the 2011 Summit, SmartWatt Energy, Inc. asked that students take pictures or video as they were going around their communities handing out CFL's and informing local small businesses about the National Grid Small Business Program. Watch Saranac Lake's video!
Tammy Morgan, teacher at Lake Placid High School & AYCS Steering Committee member, recaps their school's green initiatives at the 2011 Adirondack Youth Climate Summit
Tupper Lake High School Green Team advisor, Kathy Eldridge, explains the successes of that group during the 2011 Adirondack Youth Climate Summit.
Kate Glenn, AmeriCorps Sustainability Coordinator at Paul Smith's College, presents at the 2011 Summit what that institution has done since attending the 2010 Summit.
At the 2013 Summit, students were challenged to make videos about their experiences in 24 hours. Watch the videos in this YouTube playlist to get an understanding of what they learned, how they were inspired, and what they aspire to now.