EPA Recruits Youth to Promote Climate Change Agenda

By Penny Starr | October 26, 2015 | 12:40pm EDT
Climate activists march through to campaign against global warming, in downtown Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. The demonstration coincides with a two-week United Nations conference that is to prepare groundwork for a new climate deal expected in 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

(CNSNews.com) – In a video posted on YouTube, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking young people to join a work group of “youth climate justice leaders.”

“Today, young people are leading the charge for climate action, spreading knowledge and finding solutions to propel our nation toward a climate resilient future,” Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior advisor on environmental justice, said in the video.


“That’s why, for the first time ever, EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council will form a work group of up to 15 youth climate justice leaders,” Ali said. “Their recommendations will help EPA develop strategies to combat climate change and empower other young people to take on the challenge.”

In the video, Ali said EPA is already “taking major steps” to address climate change but that youth can advance the agency’s messaging.

“From heat-related illnesses and death to more extreme droughts, more severe storms and the cost of rebuilding after disasters, climate change is already affecting environmental justice communities,” Ali said in the video. “EPA’s taking major steps forward on climate action, but we also need to draw on the perspectives and ideas of our nation’s young leaders.”

The advisory council issued a directive following a blog posted by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. in February where they compared fighting climate change to the civil rights movement.

“We’re moved by the words of Jibreel Khazan spoken in Greensboro, NC on the 55th anniversary of the Greensboro Four sitting down at the lunch counter inside the Woolworth store on February 1st, 1960:

“‘Climate change is young people’s ‘lunch counter moment’ for the 21st century. When my three classmates and I sat down at that lunch counter to end segregation we did not know what the outcome would be. We simply knew that we had to act. We had to take bold action for necessary change to come about. It is in the tradition of civil and human rights struggle that young people today are calling for action on climate change. It is the biggest threat to justice and opportunity our planet has ever seen.’

“Fighting for environmental justice, and climate justice, echoes the spirit of America’s great civil rights leaders; it’s a spirit fueled by our moral obligation to leave our children a world safer and rich with opportunity,” the blog said. “History proves even the most wrenching strains on justice can be unwound, with a committed, diverse, and vocal coalition of people calling for change.

“That’s why EPA, the Hip Hop Caucus, and organizations around the country are fighting for climate justice—so we can further fairness and opportunity for all,” the blog said.

“Youth” is defined on the work group application as 18-29. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30.

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