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YES! aims to bolster environmental education

yes summit
Rachel Sawicki
/
Delaware Public Media
Students stop at information tables to learn more about Delaware environmental resources.

The next generation has the world on its shoulders.

Over 300 high school students attended the third annual Youth Environmental Summit offering them opportunities to listen to various sessions on environmental legislation, sustainability, and the science of climate change.

Neha Veeragandham, a summit student organizer, is a senior at the Charter School of Wilmington, who helped to put the first summit together, which drew about 200 attendees.

“Even though last year was virtual, we had a little hurdle to jump there, we have 300 plus kids here today,” she said.

Adelena Farrell is a Sanford senior who is interested in learning more about eating sustainably. She said she’s recently changed her diet to do so.

“So the first session I went to was the ‘diet for a smaller planet’ because I would like to learn more about it,” Farrell said. “And then I was in a factory farming one which is really discouraging and awful to learn about but I think it’s really important.”

Karen Igou ran a table for climate action group Extinction Rebellion Delaware. She says young people keep her going in her advocacy to address climate change.

“I can’t see how any of us adults can look in their faces and hear them speak, and we’ve had many events and we listen to them speak and we’ve had many events and we listen to them speak and they’re terrified and they’re angry and they’re sad and they don’t want to have children and they feel hopeless about their employment future,” Igou said.

yes summit2
Rachel Sawicki
/
Delaware Public Media
Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin pose for a photo with summit student organizers.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin gave a keynote address, focused on instilling a sense of urgency in the next generation of climate activists.

He says young people are not only the environmental stewards of the future, but of the current day. But he adds while young voices have influence, it is up to legislators to enact the change.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.