Chicago Youth Climate Leader headed to PowerShift

Saul Rodriguez Saul Rodriguez

Saul Rodriguez is a 17-year-old ACE Leader and recycled fashion designer from Chicago, IL. In just a few short weeks he will be attending PowerShift 2013, the largest convergence of climate and energy-focused youth on the planet.

He, just like the more than 65 other PowerShift-bound ACE Leaders in our network, has an amazing story to share about his unique journey.

Take a minute to learn about this remarkable youth leader:

Q. So, Saul, where are you from?

Saul: "I was born in Mexico and lived there for about 3 years. Then my family moved back to the US. All my childhood I was raised in Chicago. I have now been living in Chicago for about 14 years.

You know, not being born in the U.S. always brought questions to my mind about certain activities I could join or not join. I felt somewhere in the back of my mind that being born elsewhere set me up to work doubly hard to succeed, unlike some of my peers. Even still, I never let those thoughts stop me from doing what I love to do. And, it's organizations like ACE that help me preserver through obstacles in my way."

Q. What is it about climate change that inspired you to take action?

Saul: "I guess it's the fact that climate change can greatly affect my future and new generations to come that inspires me to act. I think it is important for us to preserve our climate the way it was, as scientists back then planned to, and for the future."

Q. Of all of the climate projects that you've led, which one are you most proud of?

Saul: "I have been really proud of being a participant in the Project Greenway Fashion Show with ACE at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. It's important to show other people, especially youth, that you can be green by turning your trash into treasure and beauty.

Another project that I was delighted to participate was the Unplugged Energy Competition in my school. It was great to see students and teachers and other faculty members bringing their best effort to reduce our energy use. Many participated and were glad to have done so."

Q. What are you hoping to get out of your upcoming trip to PowerShift?

Saul: "I hoping to get more leadership skills, more knowledge on how I can help my community be more aware on climate change, the latest news on climate change around the nation--and maybe even other countries, new friendships, and great pictures to share with my family and friends.

It's important to take what has been taught to you about anything, bring it back to your community to share, and raise questions to discover how to help the community."

Saul is attending PowerShift on a full scholarship from ACE. Upon his return, he plans to apply his new knowledge and skills to take climate action in his community.

Leah Qusba

Leah joined ACE in 2009 and is currently serving as Deputy Director. She brings with her more than 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a relationship-builder, communicator and strategic problem solver. She manages ACE’s program, communications, media and marketing strategy.