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‘Youth Step Up’ Competition Launches to Galvanize Student Climate Action and Fund Solutions

America’s future leaders are invited to share their climate solutions through the Youth Step Up climate contest that launches today. Building on the wave of youth-driven action, from the high school-led Zero Hour march to college Republicans backing carbon dividends, 18 to 24 year olds living in the U.S. are invited to submit their ideas to a panel of judges representing government, businesses and youth. The top eight contestants will win a trip to present their idea to American and global leaders at the Global Climate Action Summit in mid-September, and compete for various cash prizes, with up to a $5,000 grand prize.

“It’s time to unlock solutions to climate change. The Youth Step Up Challenge helps energize and motivate the generation most impacted,” said Ken Alex, a Senior Policy Advisor to California Governor Brown and judge for Youth Step Up. Other judges include: Quinten Foster at EDF, Lydia Avila from the Power Shift Network, Krystal Two Bulls from Voices of the Sacred, Jacqui Patterson with NAACP, Bob Inglis with RepublicEN, and Yassamin Ansari with Mission 2020.

“Youth Step Up is designed to accelerate the transformative work that youth are already doing, and encourage more people to call for solutions,” said Page Atcheson, the Executive Director of Our Climate, who is administering the contest.

Students are invited to submit a climate solution essay in one of five categories: 1) public policy, 2) business plan, 3) urban and land use planning, 4) science and technology, and 5) activism. The contest also includes a creative component, such as handmade art or a video. Creative submissions will be on display during the Global Climate Action Summit.

Clif Bar, which is a member of the We Are Still In Leaders’ Circle and operates on 100% green power, is one of the sponsors of Youth Step Up, enabling the winners to participate in the Global Climate Action Summit. “We’re excited to support Youth Step Up to elevate the voice of the next generation in the climate movement.” said Elysa Hammond, VP of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar & Co. “Now more than ever, let’s raise the bar on climate action, together.”

Competition partners are conducting outreach to hundreds of universities, community colleges and youth groups to ensure that as many people as possible learn about the opportunity to share their work and engage in the Global Climate Action Summit. Millennials and Generation Z are now the largest voting bloc in America. If no action is taken on climate change, climate impacts are estimated to cost Millennials $8.8 trillion in lifetime income.

“The outcome of the Global Climate Action Summit has a direct impact on my future and the future of my peers,” said Carrie Cullen, a student at Emerson College in Boston. “By including Youth Step Up in the Summit, youth have a stake in creating a future that is safe and prosperous for everyone.”

Youth Step Up is a climate competition to galvanize youth-driven climate solutions. It is led and managed by Our Climate, The Years Project and is an affiliate event of the Global Climate Action Summit.

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