Seven bright high school students from seven different schools in the Adirondacks are attending the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Denver, which is led by former-Vice President Al Gore today through Saturday.
For the past eight years under the Obama administration, preventing climate change was an active priority, but the Trump Administration seems to often dismiss the seriousness of the matter.
But scientists warn that climate change already impacts the North Country. So students active in their school’s environmental clubs in the Adirondacks are attending a national climate summit for the purposes of education and bringing back more perspectives to climate change.
Northwood School is one of the seven schools that sent a student to the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Denver. Tyler Eaton, Environmental Science teacher and coordinator of the Sustainability Committee at Northwood School said Northwood School emphasizes environmental issues such as climate change, that the surrounding environment added value to student’s education and thus needed to be conserved. Northwood prided itself, he said, on “its location in the Adirondack Park, and aims to offer its students an experience that connects them to the local landscape and the local communities.”
But what about the individual students themselves? At Northwood School, Eaton said, every year there are “a handful of students with growing concerns about climate change, [mostly] juniors and seniors. This year, there were also a few ninth graders who stepped up.”
And in fact, the selected student from Northwood School to attend the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Denver is a ninth grader: my sister, Jessica Jang, who told me she “feels passionate to know how to gain skills in order to take actions to solve these issues as a global citizen. I used to be unaware of the reality of climate change, however, the 2016 Youth Climate Summit made me feel the desire to share the messages of Earth through different communication techniques, to learn how other activists are building momentum for solutions, and to educate and inspire others to stand up and act.”
“When these students return to each of their schools,” Eaton said, “they will bring that energy and passion back with them to create projects at school and influence the community to become even better stewards of our environment, providing even more of a learning experience and providing them the opportunity to explore and expand their leadership skills, ultimately to improve our environment and therefore our health and happiness.”
But more importantly, through this experience, “students will feel empowered to create change and that they are able to have a positive and meaningful impact on their peers, school and community,” Eaton said.
However, it is not just Northwood School that is leading its students to act against climate change. Tyler Eaton believed that “Northwood’s perspective and work aligns with dozens of other faculty at schools throughout the Adirondacks and North Country.” And in fact, nearly all of the schools in the region were engaged with climate change studies via the 2016 Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, in which 20 schools participated.