Making the Choice to Take Climate Action

ACE believes that innovative education and leadership development, coupled with organized action, are fundamental to the work we must do to tackle the single greatest threat that society has ever faced, climate change. ACE also believes that youth must be at the center of this work to drive long-lasting, scalable climate solutions.

That’s why ACE awarded 70 scholarships to youth leaders from around the country to participate in PowerShift 2013, the largest convergence of climate-focused youth on the planet. At this premier youth conference, ACE youth leaders participated in a wide array of skill-building workshops and thought-provoking panels. Participants discovered new skills and ideas and walked away with tangible plans to seed campaigns in their schools and communities.

Now, fresh off of PowerShift and back home in their communities, these leaders are faced with a choice: Action or Inaction.

PowerShiftSure, it’s very easy to choose inaction. Doing nothing is simple! It would be especially easy for high school students to choose inaction with the multitude of extracurriculars to choose from and Facebook posts to like and share. But no, these high school students aren’t sitting on the sidelines. They are making the choice to act. Why? Because these youth understand both the urgency and severity of impact that climate change presents. They get it. And, they won’t stand for it.

Especially aware of the urgency needed for climate action are ACE’s student leaders from impacted communities. Kaymel Fields, a Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies student, is from Red Hook Brooklyn, a neighborhood that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy just a year ago and that is home to the largest public housing development in Brooklyn, accommodating roughly 6,000 residents. Inspired by PowerShift 2013, Kaymel, a student leader who uses hip-hop to educate and rally his peers for climate solutions, has made the choice to lead a school steering committee to inform the creation of a brand new Environmental Leadership course to run at his school in Spring 2014.

Kaymel_ProfilePic (1)Leaders like Kaymel, from Massachusetts all the way to Virginia, will work with ACE this year to launch targeted climate campaigns in the 2013-2014 school year and beyond. These campaigns will be strategically focused on issues ranging from state-wide divestment from fossil fuels to district-wide climate action plans.

But, these students can’t do it alone. They need the support of movement allies like you. Please support this work. These students are creating a safe and stable climate for all of us and the generations to come.

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, campaign, communications, media, and marketing strategy.