Four Berkshire students recently attended the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California.
Max Beadling ’20, Karan Dhiman ’19, Avalon Lebenthal ’19, and Martine Lavelle ’19 joined thousands of environmental activists, lawmakers, scientists, and business leaders at the three-day event held Sept. 12-14.
The summit was organized by California Gov. Jerry Brown, a leading voice against President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. As the leader of the world’s fifth largest economy (California), Brown has urged cities and countries, as well as private industry, to cut their carbon emissions drastically over the next two decades in hopes of reducing the impact of global warming.
“For me, the most rewarding part of the trip was seeing the CEO's, mayors, and governors pledge their support to the Paris Agreement, even though they are not receiving any support from Washington and the Trump administration,” said Dhiman, a senior from Jamaica.
The Berkshire contingent, which included faculty members Ms. Simmons and Mr. MacKenzie, was invited to the summit by Berkshire alum Jeffrey Wexler ’06, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the summit.
In a letter inviting Berkshire to the event, Wexler said students play a critical role in solving the problems related to global warming.
“Berkshire School has long served as a leader in educating students about environmental stewardship, sustainability, and how individuals and institutions can effect change in their communities,” Wexler said.
During the summit, students heard from speakers that included former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and environmentalist Jane Goodall. Ideas presented at the event ranged from constructing energy-efficient buildings, to reducing greenhouse-gases, to supporting climate-friendly businesses. The students agreed the summit heightened their sense of urgency in coming up with ways to slow the impact of climate change.
“Presentations on specific issues such as forest protection, eating vegetarian/vegan, ocean-specific changes…. made it more clear to me just how pressing this issue is,” Lebenthal said. “There is no time to waste.”
Sustainability and Environmental Studies teacher Patrick Donovan is excited to see what impact the trip will have back at Berkshire.
"I was most excited to hear about the range of scale that the young people took in - that all steps matter, from the "largest" to the "smallest," and can be a path towards a healthier planet for all," Donovan said.