Tupper Lake hosts Youth Climate Summit

TUPPER LAKE, N.Y. (WCAX) Climate change is a hot topic and New York Students are calling for action at a Youth Climate Summit in Tupper Lake.
Over 200 students from across New York attended the summit Thursday to learn about climate change and what actions they can take right in their own backyards.

"More than a quarter of the world's population is under 25, so we need to think of them as partners," said Jen Kretser with the The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.

Putting pen and paper to work, students described climate change problems they see in their community.

"We're growing up in a time where this is one of the issues we're thinking about the most. We're coming to the table with a bunch of new ideas. We're thinking in new ways and being exposed to different things that adults haven't been exposed to yet," said Hannah Katz with the Hamilton College's Adirondack program. "It's important to stay regional to understand what your local impacts are, but it's also important to understand that you're part of a network of young people making change and to feel like you're part of something bigger."

Whether upstate or downstate, similar challenges arise. Students discussed ideas like solar panels for schools, water refill stations and composting.

"We're working on composting. We actually just got our first composter over the summer" said Brooke Paries of Lake Placid High School.

The students also came up with more creatuive ideas, like fashion swaps or recycling items left in dorm rooms

"One school wanted to do a carbon neutral prom, which is something I would have never thought about," Kretser said.

The summit encourages students to think big, but that can come at a cost, so grants are offered through the summit to make these green dreams reality. Applications for mini grants to fund projects are due by December 13th.

Part of the summit is bringing ideas back to communities. Many of the students say they plan to talk with their local officials to implement changes.