ACE Climate Action Fellow Olivia Robinson masterfully weaved together a story of the interconnectedness of human beings and nature in a speech she delivered at the 2014 Green Schools National Conference in Sacramento earlier this year. In her speech, Olivia reminded us that sometimes, breakups can be a good thing:
“And on the subject of petroleum, you know, that girl your mother always warned you about? Break ups are never easy, but luckily we already have another girl lined up. Biofuel is smart, sweet, naturally beautiful, and won't empty your wallet.”
The Green Schools National Conference is an annual convergence designed for attendees to develop creative solutions to strengthening sustainability at their schools. Attendees participate in workshops led by individuals who have successfully implemented new technologies, energy saving programs, curriculum and green building design in schools around the country. Olivia wasn’t the only young leader present: ACE Alumni and GenYNot Founder & Host Jordan Howard was in the building representing millennials and making sure youth always have a seat at the table.
Olivia was attending as part of the conference’s first official youth caucus and she made sure that young people were heard. With an audience of hundreds of sustainability leaders (including billionaire Tom Steyer and Bronx vertical garden pioneer and teacher Stephen Ritz), professionals and students, Olivia challenged the group to respond to climate change using our greatest assets -- human ingenuity and innovation.
Olivia, a senior at Berkeley High School in Northern California, speaks with such authority and optimism that it is no surprise that she has been representing ACE youth leadership across the country. Olivia has rallied against the Keystone XL pipeline in San Francisco, encouraged youth participants at Power Shift 2013 to become leaders; and has been instrumental in providing ACE’s leadership with concrete examples of how we can sharpen our Assembly. With this background, we knew that she would be the perfect representative for youth at the Green Schools National Conference and she proved us right: reminding the audience that while congress and leaders seem to be blocked on climate change, youth see countless solutions:
“We can do more than just consume less. We can build vertical gardens: green urban monoliths that feed cities. We can plant mega flora trees that are fully grown in just two years.”
Olivia continues to be one of the most distinct and resonant youth voices in this movement. In the fall, Olivia will begin her second year as an ACE Climate Action Fellow and her last year in high school. We have no doubt that she will continue to amaze us all as she works towards a greener future.
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