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ECO2school youth get ready to lead on climate – from the bike saddle, the podium, and the classroom

A sentiment often repeated about climate change is nobody is doing anything about it. While the reality of the world’s lackluster ability to make climate change a priority is real, it is not the full story. People are working on a daily basis on the “wicked problem,” like the staff here at The Climate Center, or, as I have had the pleasure to experience, amongst our youth leaders! These passionate and inspiring leaders run counter to that assumption that nobody is doing anything about climate change.  

On August 10th, The Climate Center held our annual Youth Leadership Development Retreat. Ten dedicated youth leaders representing high schools across Sonoma County spent one of their last days of summer participating in this captivating event. ECO2school leaders worked on skills such as team building, facilitation, messaging, and public speaking, which will be useful tools throughout the year’s activities as they implement solution-based projects in response to climate change.

Maitreyi listens as students talk.

The participants not only honed their leadership skills, but also worked to increase their climate literacy. The Climate Literacy Gallery Walk is an engaging activity where students walk around the room viewing displayed images detailing the story of our changing climate. The students shared which image they found compelling and why, creating an opportunity for an informative climate connections conversation.

The highlight of the day was definitely the bike ride. Laughter and smiles abounded as they rode, refining their street skills and gaining bike confidence. Encouraging students to use active transportation is not only a crucial VMT (vehicle miles traveled) reduction strategy, but it is also super fun!

This year’s Youth Leadership Development Retreat helped prepare students to take on the real-world challenges of climate change, traffic congestion, and personal health.

Now, Ready, set, lead!