No one is born being a citizen. You have to be taught what it means. Sonia Sotomayor
Do you want to know who you are?
Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

Thomas Jefferson

 

 

Enrolled in a newly-launched Global Humanism elective modeled on Words Into Deeds, students in grades 10-12 attending Dickerson High School in Trumansburg, NY selected to focus on SDG #13, and its impacts both locally and globally, for their project. They identified 3 subthemes for further research and consultation with experts, and drafted plans for community involvement.

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE

Through classroom discussions and group workshops led by Gertrude and based on key documents, including the Paris Agreement of 2015, students developed factual, balanced views about climate change and its likely impacts, both locally and globally. The process was augmented by classroom discussions with invited experts, including five Cornell students who participated in the 2017 COP23 Climate Change Conference held in Bonn, Germany; this forum included reports and resolutions by drafters and signatories of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement (https://unfccc.int/news/concrete-climate-action-commitments-at-cop23).

Empowering Youth Voices on Climate Change Cornell Students (seated) share their experiences from the 2017 COP23 Climate Change Conference held in Bonn, Germany.

EXPANDING GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES

Eleven students were selected to participate in the annual International Student Leadership Conference, held annually at the United Nations under the sponsorship of Global Education Motivators. During the first two days, student representatives from each school shared their group’s perspectives and plans, then worked to draft recommendations around each of the sub-themes. They also selected members who would serve in several leadership roles at the full session. 

Lilian Oxley (standing) helps guide discussion among students from Mexico, the Republic of Georgia, New York and New Jersey on the subtheme: Science-based facts and predictions related to climate change. In the background are teachers from these schools, who are there to observe but not intervene. T’burg student Lilian Oxley (standing) helps guide discussion among international participants on the subtheme: Science-based facts and predictions related to climate change.

Over 300 global student delegates were present for the final day of the conference. These included youth from India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Georgia, and Mexico. Each subtheme was discussed and debated, with new ideas and modifications incorporated into a Youth Plan of Action document that was subsequently revised then approved by all delegates. The document was presented to the UN Youth Envoy in May, 2017 and a summary published by UN Academic Impact https://academicimpact.un.org/content/2018-student-leadership-conference-development-empowering-youth-voices-climate-change

The Trumansburg team awaiting entrance to the UN prior to the final session of the Student Leadership Conference. Shown are (left to right) Arianna Wright, Zoe Golden, Gertrude Noden, Sarah Wertis, Logan Bonn, Georgia Mechalke, Jadyn Wright, Lilian Oxley, Margaret McCurdy, Virginia Clifford, Elizabeth Gardner, and Clair Williamson. The Trumansburg team awaiting entrance to the UN prior to the final session of the Student Leadership Conference.

For their accomplishments, participants in the Youth Voices on Climate Change project were recognized by the 2018 People’s Choice “Signs of Sustainability” Award presented by Sustainable Tompkins on Earth Day, 2018. This is a community-based organization working towards the long-term well-being of our communities by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility. https://sustainabletompkins.org/

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SUPPORT

Financial support for this project was provided by a grant from the Myrtle Dee Nash Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, by Global Education Motivators, and by generous donors to Words Into Deeds.