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"If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween." -Douglas Coupland
When Youth Say They Can Change the World, We Believe Them When Youth Say They Can Change the World, We Believe Them

When Youth Say They Can Change the World, We Believe Them

by Lonna Dawson

November 16, 2012

"Lip color of the season. Hotter planet. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez break up. Sea level rise. Will the Knicks win another Championship? Rihanna and Chris Breezy got back together? OMG. Stronger hurricanes and floods. WT…? Global warming!"

This could easily be the rambling of the protagonist in a sci-fi drama where a pop news reporter stumbles upon a hot lead that 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists have gone public with agreeing that human-caused climate change is real.

But it's not. Millions of high school students around the country are talking about climate change. While fans can't do anything about the Knicks winning another Championship and the most a Belieber can do is unfollow Selena Gomez, the Alliance for Climate Education provides students with direct and meaningful ways to confront global climate change and make it look cooler than an ice hotel.

So, what's the trick to getting swag and climate change in the same sentence? We've got it down to a science: teach students the facts about climate change and show them that they have the power and influence to change the future they are going to inherit. And oh yeah, make it wavy (ask the teenager in your life what that means). Easier said than done, right? ACE believes high school students have the power to act now and once connected to a network of like-minded peers, their energy and excitement is magnified to reverse global climate change. And having power? That's powerful.

So yeah, I guess you could say we're creating a generation of Know It Alls who we believe have all the power in the world and no one else can solve the climate crisis quite like they can. But is that really far from what they already think about themselves? Given the (lack of) action so far, is it really that far from the truth?

Maya Angelou said, "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." That’s exactly what ACE does. Generations of young people have historically shown that they are an innovative, resilient, and successful power when united. That's why we work with thousands of young leaders to channel their knowledge and imagination into climate solutions, from energy audits to speaking at The White House, from raising their voices online to bringing sustainability to their neighborhoods.

Today's youth do have the power to shape the future. It’s up to us to help them make the most of it and focus beyond next fall, the breakups and the ballgames and onto saving the world they will inherit.

To become a leader in the climate change movement, visit here and pledge your name in support of a better, cleaner tomorrow.

Illustration by Corinna Loo 
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