High School Activists Urge Obama to Take Bold Action on Climate Change at City Hall Rally

Event Held on Eve of United Nations Rio+20 Conference

Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
  • Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
    Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
    Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
    Global Kids youth ask supporters to endorse their campaign by signing a returned check symbolizing environmental promises made to their generation. Support their campaign at honorthecheck.globalkids.org.
On Thursday, June 7th, high school activists from the educational nonprofit Global Kids will hold a rally and press conference on the steps of City Hall, urging elected officials — including NYC Council Members, state leaders and President Obama — to join them at the U.N. Conference for Sustainability (nicknamed Rio+20) to take decisive action on climate change. Global Kids is sending five youth representatives from New York City to attend Rio+20. Together, they are calling on President Obama to confirm his attendance at the Conference, as 130 other heads of state have already done. Youth leaders along with several elected officials (to be confirmed) will speak and share poetry, chants and songs at the rally.

The high school activists are joined by partner organizations such as the Human Impacts Institute, iMatter, Kids vs. Global Warming, and Mobilize U.S.  The groups hope to convey the urgency of taking increased action on climate change, on both the local and the global level. On a local level, the youth leaders are calling for a City Council resolution on climate change and a plan to increase renewable energy usage in New York. A group of Global Kids students from the neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City is developing a campaign to improve air quality in Western Queens, supported by the Greening Western Queens Fund. On the state level, Global Kids leaders have also been working with environmental groups to call for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking, in New York State. 

Global Kids youth leaders have created a giant check, representing the promises made to their generation at the original Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, which the United States government has not fulfilled. They are calling for a decrease in greenhouse gasses, an end to subsidies for oil and gas giants, an increased investment in renewable energy, and greater support for developing countries to transition to a green economy. The youth are asking citizens and elected representatives to endorse their campaign and sign the check, by signing a petition at http://honorthecheck.globalkids.org.

From June 20th through June 22nd, the Rio+20 Conference will bring together thousands of individuals from around the world to plan a more sustainable environmental future for the planet. Environmental groups from across the country have joined together to urge President Obama to attend. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appealed for world leaders like Obama to put global concerns before local interests. “Now is not the moment for narrow squabbling. This is a moment for world leaders and their people to unite in common purpose around a shared vision of our common future — the future we want.”

Steven Jean-Baptiste, a senior at the High School for Global Citizenship in Crown Heights says he is participating in the rally because his future depends on it. “Whenever I think about my future and the future of the next generation, everything seems so bleak. As a Global Kids activist, I am stepping up and taking action against unsustainable environmental policies.”

Say Sanchez, a senior at Norman Thomas High School, agrees. “The world needs President Obama’s strong leadership on sustainable development and climate justice at Rio+20.”

Izamar Capellan, a senior at the High School for Environmental Studies, adds, “As young people, we represent the conscious of the world and we know that the time is now for real action on climate change.”

Global Kids, Inc. - the premier non-profit educational organization for global learning and youth development - works to ensure that urban youth have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process, and achieve leadership in their communities and on the global stage. www.globalkids.org

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.  The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236), and will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.html