Children’s Aid Teens Tackle Global Warming in Day-Long Youth Conference in Bronx

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Worried Students Want Others to Take Action, Too

On Saturday, April 21, a warm sun blazed over the Bronx after days of clouds and a drenching nor’easter. One hundred students from many Children’s Aid locations who gathered there for a conference on global warming pointed repeatedly to the very variable weather we had had this winter as suspicious – is climate change already here?

Concerned about the impact of global warming on their generation and feeling an urgent need to help some of their peers take action about it, these Children’s Aid students used skits, working groups, workshops, and games about recycling and toxic waste to understand the issues and create lists of actions they want their peers to undertake to help their environment and perhaps slow the effects of global warming.

The beautiful spring day couldn’t tempt these teens out of the Bronx Community College conference facility – they remained focused all day on the topics of recycling, temperature changes, toxics and waste reduction, making these areas the subjects of all of their activities.

The teens needed very little help from the adults on hand. The Children’s Aid youth led their own discussions and working groups and at the end of the afternoon, came up with lists of recommendations for their peers, parents and CBOs (community-based organizations). For example, the youth urge parents to stop using “bad” products to clean the house; they urge other kids to write letters to companies that sell products as aerosols and urge CBOs to advertise about the issue more. (See the accompanying photo of the lists of the youths’ recommendations.)

The young conferees are taking the recommendations back to the youth at their sites, and will create posters using slogans they worked on to bring the messages home. They are serious, and worried.