#Youth4Climate: Inspiring Young People Around the World to Take Climate Action
Today’s youth are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last that can do something about it. A flotilla of partners are working together to empower young people around the world to engage in the UNFCCC climate talks taking place in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Why Does Climate Change Education Matter?
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says in Article 6, education contributes to the solutions being developed to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change:
“The solutions to climate change are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all. To see this and to understand what needs to be done requires a sharp and sustained focus on education, training and public awareness in all countries and at all levels of government, society and enterprise.”
Key points on why climate change education matters:
- Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges and many other data sources all confirm that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming. Scientists who study climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with significant changes in Earth’s climatic trends. (U.S. National Climate Assessment, 2014)
- Over the 21st century, climate scientists expect Earth’s temperature to continue increasing, very likely more than it did during the 20th century. Two anticipated results are rising global sea level and increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts and floods. These changes will affect almost every aspect of human society, including economic prosperity, human and environmental health and national security. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will bring economic and environmental challenges as well as opportunities and citizens who have an understanding of climate science will be better prepared to respond to both. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Society needs citizens who understand the climate system and know how to apply that knowledge in their careers and in their engagement as active members of their communities. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will continue to be a significant element of public discourse. Understanding the essential principles of climate science will enable all people to assess news stories and contribute to their everyday conversations as informed citizens. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
The #Youth4Climate social media campaign is an effort led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Energy, Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), CLEAN Network, The Wild Center, the World Bank Group’s global partnership program Connect4Climate, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, Alliance for Climate Education, Earth Day Network, Climate Interactive and others. It is an open discussion for all to join the youth call for climate action.
Young people are one of the largest demographics in the world—approximately one billion youth roam the globe today. Climate education is now a necessary foundation for those young people. In order to tackle the complex issue of climate change, we need leaders with the skills, knowledge and passion to push for and innovate solutions.
With their knowledge, young people are already the leaders of this generation. They are already demanding ambitious action on climate change and leading a youth climate movement. The #Youth4Climate coalition is supporting them all the way on the road to and through Paris.
We are excited to join forces and support them by giving them a voice and an opportunity to lead in Paris and beyond. We know the solutions are here and are committed to working together to build a resilient climate-friendly world. Join us at #Youth4Climate.
Social Media Kit
This coordinated media effort is a commitment to educating, engaging and lifting up youth in the COP21 space. In order to create a powerful presence during this defining moment in climate history, we need your help. This toolkit should provide you with all the information you need to engage in the #Youth4Climate social media campaign, as well as provide you with a list of important youth and climate education initiatives taking place around COP21.
For a month, from Nov. 12 until Dec. 12, we’re calling on young people to share their climate solutions, tell their climate stories and engage in the UNFCCC COP21.
Nov. 12-13: In the center of the Adirondacks, in northern New York state, 200 high school and college students convene at the Wild Center for the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit to learn climate science and to create climate action plans for their schools and communities. #ADKyouthsummit Watch highlights here.
Nov. 12-30: In the lead up to COP21, get ready to film a #Day4Climate action when people around the world will raise the voice of youth in climate action and send in your climate questions and or statements to the partners developing the U.S. Center side event, “Our Time to Lead: Youth Engagement on Climate Change” on Nov. 30 (ASTC, the Wild Center and the Alliance for Climate Education, collaboration with DOE and NOAA) using the hashtag #AskUSCenter. See more here.
Nov. 15: Students and teachers from schools from across New England will meet at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut for the GSAx Sustainability Conference to share best practices and create action plans around how schools can play an integral part in addressing climate and conservation challenges. #GreenSchoolsAll
Nov. 16-17: If you are in Washington DC on Nov. 16-17, join the World Bank Youth Summit 2015 to engage with crowd-sourced solutions to climate change or discuss climate change with your peers online through the #wbgyouthsummit community.
Nov. 20: Vermont Youth Climate Summit. High school and college students from across the state of Vermont will share ideas, craft plans and inspire action to reduce carbon footprints of schools and communities through peer-to-peer learning at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Follow their Facebook page here and connect with #VTYCS.
Nov. 21: Middle and high school students will gather at Furr High School in Houston, Texas for the School and Community Sustainability Summit. The summit is a collaborative effort of the Green Schools Alliance and the Houston East End Greenbelt Initiative. #GreenSchoolsAll
Nov. 26: Finland Youth Climate Summit at Heureka, the Finnish Science Center in Helsinki. Junior high schools students from all over Finland will gather to create a climate action plan for their schools, while their teachers learn to support them, with coaching from experts. It is the most remarkable climate education event in the country, leading not only to learning but also to concrete actions.
Nov. 26-28: This year’s Conference of Youth, organized by young volunteers, will take place in Villepinte, France. The conference targets youth, aged 18 to 30, to spread sustainability best practices, with a specific climate change focus. Join #COY15 and spread the youth climate movement.
Nov. 29: Join the 24-hr Film a #Day4Climate Action challenge organized by Connect4Climate, Vimeo and partners. On Nov. 29, at the Global Climate March, people around the world will raise their voices for climate action. Film your climate action, solution or conversation on the day before COP21. We are heading for a clean resilient future. Let’s make it a reality. Let’s tell the world through film, send your story to #Day4Climate.
Nov. 30: At the U.S. Center at COP21, an interactive panel of climate scientists, decision makers, science museums and youth climate organizations will showcase unique and diverse youth programming models and student-driven initiatives that are advancing place-based climate solutions.
Nov. 30: Youth experts will also be heard at COP21 in the Justice and Future Generations: Achieving Intergenerational Equity in Paris and Beyond side-event.
Nov. 30-Dec. 11: The Window into Paris: COP21 #EducatorsinParis initiative of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy will be sending out daily digests that include blogs by their staff and teacher delegation to Paris and information on how to connect to daily webcasts hosted by teachers connecting back to their classrooms, which will also be open to the public. Climate Generation will be bringing the position statements of hundreds of students and public to share with the U.S. delegation. Climate Generation will also host daily informal “cafe roundtables” with experts in Paris.
Dec. 3: The Young and Future’s Generation Day at the UNFCCC COP21 will host a number of youth-focused events throughout the day, placing youth at the heart of the climate talks. Join with #ParisACE for #COP21.
Dec. 3: In the middle of the day young leaders will join their older counterparts on the Intergenerational Inquiry official side-event of the UNFCCC. This is followed by a special screening of “An Inconvenient Youth,” a film documenting the vibrant untold story of the global youth climate movement by Slater Jewell-Kemker, a young Canadian.
Dec. 3: During an international interactive video conference organizing a dialogue between youth and experts on concrete plans for their communities and youth and education leaders can ask their questions at the Universcience the science center in Paris on Dec. 3 by using hashtag #WorldCOP21.
Dec. 4: UN Alliance Call to Action: There is an urgent need to scale-up action and investment in climate change education, training and awareness raising. This high-level event showcases innovative ways of effectively engaging all stakeholder in this transformation. Panelists will include representatives from Earth Day Network and Connect4Climate, discussing recent climate education and communication initiatives. In the evening the #Day4Climate filmmakers and UNFCCC videographers will be celebrated at a youth reception with a special presentation by Prince Ea.
Dec. 4: World Climate Project: Interactive Simulation of UN Climate Negotiations. In the Climate Generations Area from 11:30-1:00, Climate Interactive will offer a chance to explore potential pathways to address climate change through an interactive demonstration of the World Climate game and computer simulations C-ROADS and En-ROADS. Put yourself in the shoes of the climate negotiators to see what it will take. Analysis of the INDC pledges will be offered alongside a framework for understanding how climate solutions can and must address other challenges simultaneously. See more here.
Dec. 6: The Sustainia Award Ceremony will highlight and celebrate the solutions and young change makers that are already paving the road to achieving the SDGs and tackling climate change. Young entrepreneurs will be awarded by a jury lead by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Connect4Climate will present leading industry transformers from their Fashion4Climate and Film4Climate initiatives during the show: www.sustainia.me/cop21/.
Dec. 7-8: Earth To Paris: A diverse coalition of groups, from foundations to technology companies to media organizations and more, is uniting to launch Earth To Paris to drive awareness and host events that highlight the connection between people and planet and the need for strong climate action; to showcase climate solutions and innovations; to bring together communities to promote collaboration; and to engage people around the world in the dialogue taking place in Paris.
Dec. 8: CLEAN Network Teleconference: Live from Paris—Kristen Poppleton, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, Title: Window into Paris: COP21.
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How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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