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The American Renewable Energy Day Summit (AREDAY) in Snowmass, Colorado this month became a catalyst for spurring commitments to the Youth Climate Movement. The four-day event ignited action among the 300 attending climate scientists, economists, educators and innovators as youth leaders urged them to join the Youth Climate Strike on September 20 in New York City and in other cities throughout the world. The youth were fervent in their quest to raise awareness and solidify action to address climate issues.
One of the youth leaders present was Xiye Bastida, a 17-year-old indigenous activist from New York City and one of the US organizers of the youth climate movement. Her passionate pleas moved the audience at the AREDAY Summit. “We’re less than 25% of the population but we’re 100% of the future,” she said. Xiye will be meeting her European counterpart, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, in New York this week. Greta has been on a sailboat from Sweden for two weeks and is expected to dock in New York today to participate in the youth climate strikes on September 20 and 27 and the Youth Climate Summit September 21-22 at the United Nations.
Greta is the Swedish climate activist whose August 2018 school strike for the climate outside the Swedish Parliament spawned a worldwide movement called Fridays for Future. On March 15, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries joined her call to strike and protest. A similar event involving students from 125 countries took place on May 24, 2019 and 50,000 students from 100 countries began striking in 2015.
Paul Watson, the co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is among those at the AREDAY Summit who is committed to connecting his marine preservation work with the Youth Climate Movement. Watson began his conversations with Xiye during AREDAY. He has also reached out to offer Greta passage on the organization’s “Martin Sheen” sailing ship from San Diego to Chili this fall where she’ll be attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or “COP 25”) in Santiago.
The Sea Shepherd crew is planning to host an event during the New York’s Climate Action Week on another of its vessels, the Bridget Bardot, for those youth climate leaders gathered for the Summit. The week culminates with the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 28.
Paul Watson’s motivation in supporting Greta, Xiye and the youth movement is simple. “For years I’ve said, we should listen to young people. They have the passion and imagination, which along with courage, is what changes the world. We don’t need to educate our youth. They are educating us.” The Sea Shepherd offers opportunities for youth to join its crews as volunteers. Currently, 240 people from 25 different countries spend two weeks to six months on board one of Sea Shepherd’s vessels; most are young people.
According to AREDAY Founder Chip Comins,” This is a momentous opportunity for our country, thanks to its youth. We are proud that the AREDAY Summit has been the catalyst to bring these dynamic youth leaders together with some of the nation’s foremost thinkers and activists in the climate world.”
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer inspired the AREDAY attendees by saying, “Our society was built on new technology and change. We can do this.” Earth’s Call’s Spike Buckley and the Wallace Global Fund’s Ellen Dorsey made a joint commitment to fund the youth movement.
Watson’s decades of protecting the oceans, whales and other marine life earned him AREDAY’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented during the Summit by Comins and Sally Ranney, president of AREDAY’s parent organization, American Renewable Energy Institute. “On behalf of the youth movement, we applaud your life,” said Bastida in helping present the award. “Your work in the present to preserve the future is an inspiration.”
Watson, who participated in the May climate strike in New York City, accepted the award by saying, “It’s a privilege to be part of the strike. It makes me happy to be involved with this generation.”
The UN 2019 Climate Action Summit will convene on the theme, ‘A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.’ It will be preceded by a Youth Climate Summit on September 21, which Thunberg and Bastida will be attending.
The American Renewable Energy Day Summit, America’s premiere renewable energy networking event, completed its 16th annual event earlier this month, bringing together over 300 climate activists to share ideas and innovations from the world of finance, investment, government, solar, wind, agriculture, oceans and media.
About AREDAY – The AREDAY SUMMIT is a program of the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI). It has taken place annually in Aspen or Snowmass, CO since 2004. The agenda includes a multi-day speaker series and IMPACTFILM. AREDAY offers attendees the opportunity to engage with clean energy world leaders from the public and private sectors, including the fields of finance, politics, solar, wind, biofuels, and geothermal plus leading-edge energy technologies. Participants have included President Jimmy Carter, the Prime Minister of Australia and the president of Iceland. For more information, call 970-930-8002 or visit AREDAY.net.
About AREI – The American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) is a registered 501(c)(3) organization based in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. Focused on fostering actionable solutions around climate change, its programs emphasize the “Five Verticals of Solution – Stop the burning of fossil fuels; Remove 2 trillion tons of carbon from the atmosphere; Plant 2 trillion trees; Regenerate the soil; Remove all plastic from the ocean and rebalance its PH.”
Jeanette Darnauer Darnauer Group Communications 970-925-9010 firstname.lastname@example.org Chip Comins American Renewable Energy Institute 970-948-9929 email@example.com