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Youth Provide a Voice for Climate Protection at BAAQMD

ECO2school_2016_BAAQMD1 The Climate Center’s Youth Advisory Board took their climate message to San Francisco earlier this month to present to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District about the ECO2school program’s accomplishments.

The meeting was powerfully moving for both the student participants as well as the board members. Johanna Paine, a senior at Montgomery High School, shared her message of hope: “We aren’t old enough to vote, but we are old enough to care about our world’s future. Global warming is my generation’s greatest challenge. Past generations’ way of life is far too destructive of our earth. We owe it to the world to stop. Let’s make a better future, let’s be the generation remembered for turning around the way we treat our earth.”

ThECO2school_2016_BAAQMD2e Air District and The Climate Center have a long history of collaboration as we work toward our common goals of improved air quality and decreased carbon emissions. As a result of the vision and leadership of Air District Board Member and Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, the Air District provided a $60,000 grant to the Center’s youth leadership program, for the 2014-15 school year. These funds helped fund the development of a program manual that is a cornerstone of the program’s regional expansion.

ECO2school is the Center’s youth development program, which builds a pathway to successfully fulfill climate goals for the future by creating committed climate leaders. Today’s youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders, are an important part of the equation for winnowing our fossil fuel dependence. “This program [ECO2school] has helped me grow tremendously as a student and as a person. I appreciate the opportunity to face my fears of public speaking and share my passion for solutions. I felt strong for being able to do it. I am thankful for the Air District’s leadership in the fight to find positive climate solutions,” said Windsor High School senior Samantha Hayman.

All left the meeting buoyed with hope and enthusiastic for future opportunities for collaboration.