Student Leaders Take on the Youth Climate Challenge


In collaboration with the 2019 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit, 37 student leaders from across the Southwestern US and Mexico ranging in age from 8 to 22 years old joined Summit attendees to focus on climate strategies and solutions and develop action plans to implement in their communities.

"As a part of the relatively younger generation I can vouch for the importance impressed upon us of time and the time we have to positively impact everything around us, most importantly our planet. We have reached a point in which the youth are going to have a great, if not, the greatest significance in the world and working towards bettering it.”

- Maya Cota

Climate Kids Ambassador

In collaboration with partners from across the region, the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Climate Science Alliance, and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography convened the second Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit in August 2019. The first Youth Climate Challenge was held in conjunction with this event and hosted over 8 youth teams from communities across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. These teams were comprised of 37 students ranging in age from 8 to 22.

The Youth Climate Challenge, a program of the Climate Science Alliance’s Climate Kids Initiative, provided an opportunity to come together, focus on climate strategies and solutions, and advance resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. In this immersive experience, students were connected with leading climate scientists, practitioners, artists, and fellow youth like Ms. Jaime Lynn Butler. Jaime is one of 21 youth plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States in which young people from around the country are suing the government for the claim they have a constitutional right to be protected from man-made climate change.

In Challenge teams, students not only participated in the larger Summit conversation, but were guided and challenged to identify and analyze the climate impacts in their own communities. Together, they investigate climate strategies and solutions and formulate action plans to implement in their sphere of influence.

Some of the projects they developed included:

> Creation of a series of workshops in Baja California highlighting Indigenous voices of the region and how they are being impacted by climate changes.

> Lead an educational campaign and three watershed restoration events to remove trash and invasive species.

> Develop a school club focused on addressing infrastructure and climate issues with local Tribes.

At the culmination of the Challenge, students presented their climate stories and ideas to Summit attendees. Moving forward the Climate Science Alliance will support students in the implementation of their Challenge plans. Stay connected for updates at Youth Climate Challenge.

Congratulations to all the incredible youth leaders that participated in the first Youth Climate Challenge and thank you for your dedication and bravery to developing climate solutions that matter.

Special thanks to the sponsors that made this Challenge possible:

#ClimateKids #ClimateKidsTribes #BuildingCommunity

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