North Carolina Youth Climate Summit

Zoë Bettmann

|

May 22, 2018

26575629558_485bd7ec67_z.jpg

During the summer of 2017, I volunteered at The Wild Center in New York for a month. While there, I learned about their Youth Climate Summit program, an annual conference for high school students that brings different school groups together to learn about and discuss climate change. The first Summit originated in New York with one student’s idea, and has since spread all over the world.

Many youth feel we can’t make a difference because of the lack of recognition. We are constantly being underestimated. I had already been the Environmental Club president for a year prior to hearing about the Youth Climate Summit and had never heard of any opportunity quite like it. I thought, “Just because no one has started a climate summit in North Carolina yet, doesn’t mean there can’t be one.”

Just because no one has started a climate summit in North Carolina yet, doesn’t mean there can’t be one.

I had a meeting with Jen Kretser, founder of the Youth Climate Summit program at the Wild Center, and then immediately told my club about the program when I got back to North Carolina. They were instantly as excited as I was! Somewhere in the midst of summit planning, Jen Kretser emailed me about applying to be an ACE Action Fellow. I applied and fortunately got accepted! Being an ACE Fellow helped exponentially with summit planning. Discussing new and important climate change-related issues every week reminded me of why I was planning the summit in the first place.

Our North Carolina Youth Climate Summit on February 17, 2018 began with guest speakers. Jen Kretser flew all the way from New York to be there and gave an overview of The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Summit program. It got everyone more excited to hear that people all around the world were attending Youth Climate Summits too. Then North Carolina Secretary of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan, spoke. His words and his work were inspiring. It felt hopeful to know that we have people in power who care so much about the environment’s well being and also our well being.

We had six workshops from various environmental organizations and we split up students from different schools to make sure everyone got a chance to meet new people. Throughout the summit, I may have appeared put-together to the outside world but my mind was a nervous wreck. “What if everyone’s bored? What if everything thing goes wrong?”

However, once everyone was settled in their first workshop, I realized that our plan was foolproof. We set out to encourage climate action and we were doing just that. With other ACE Fellows, I helped lead a workshop on how to talk about climate change with people who feel ambivalent about it. People who attended responded and engaged which was so exciting. I could see them taking it all in and I truly believe those who attended the workshop will go home and talk with their parents about climate change.

Fellow Zo-- Bettmann

Zoë Bettmann

North Carolina

Zoë Bettmann is a 2017-2018 Action Fellow in North Carolina. She attends Cedar Ridge High School.

More Blog Posts

44527005382_6dd3b59af8_o

ACE INTERVIEW: ACE Fellow Hakim Evans on Education Induced Activism

Hakim Evans (he/him) is a 22-year-old climate activist and ACE Action Fellow since 2016 based in Far Rockaway, New York. His passion for the environment stems from his previous advocacy for equitable public health infrastructure and the intersections between climate change and public health. Hakim has played a role in various activities that call attention to the climate crisis such as facilitating workshops and training sessions, attending rallies, and high-level events like the UN Paris Climate Change Agreement Ratification Ceremony and the Global Climate Action Summit. He aims to limit the inequalities of marginalized communities through education induced activism with BIPOC youth at the forefront. He has taken part in a variety of campaigns and partnerships that help youth tackle environmental injustice and bring the climate crisis to light. Hakim is currently a senior studying Economics at York College-City University of New York.

Read More
Tiffani_Brown-Headshot

Tiffani Brown Joins The ACE Board

We are thrilled to announce that Tiffani Brown has joined the Board of Directors at Alliance for Climate Education.

Read More
32358029957_b8f549f014_o

ACE INTERVIEW: ACE Fellow Ananya Seelam on The Importance of Climate Activism

Ananya Seelam (she/her) is a freshman at Cornell University studying Computer Science with a concentration in Computational Sustainability — a field that uses computer science to develop models for decision making related to sustainability — and a minor in Inequality Studies. She has been involved in the climate space since she was in high school after having joined the ACE Action Fellowship program. Her experience within the program as well as her work in the climate movement has led her to continue pursuing work with climate activism.

Read More
View More