BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 5 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the University of Vermont held a Youth Climate Summit today.
More than 150 Vermont high school students and dozens of teachers from 26 high schools throughout the state worked in small teams to create climate action plans for their high schools.
“Global warming is the planetary crisis of our time,” Sanders told the students. “The scientific community is telling us that we have a narrow window of opportunity to address the crisis of climate change and to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy,” added the senator, a member of both the Senate energy and environment committees.
The high school students took part in workshops organized by 65 UVM undergraduates who had studied ecological economics. Organizing the climate summit for young Vermonters was one of the goals of the college course that also focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy development and greenhouse gas auditing.
“The summit provided a great opportunity not only to help students develop action plans that will tangibly decrease the carbon footprint of their high schools, but also to pass along to younger peers some of the optimism and passion we feel about addressing climate change,” said Amelia Fontein, a UVM junior from Tinmouth, Vermont. “Sen. Sanders’ involvement has been key to the success we’ve had recruiting students and in underlining the importance of this issue.”
Gillian Galford, a research professor and fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological, shared research on the impact climate change will have on Vermont in coming decades.
“The University of Vermont is honored to be hosting the inaugural Vermont Youth Climate Summit in partnership with Sen. Sanders,” said Professor Jon Erickson of UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. “Through building strong peer networks, we hope this summit elevates the voice of our youth and ties their education to concrete action on climate change.”