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Environment gets a Boost from North American Youth
21/ 11/ 2008

Environment gets a Boost from North American YouthUNEP Launches First Youth Network on Climate Change for North America
Chicago, 14 November 2008  -  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launches today its first-ever North American Youth Network to help combat climate change. Twenty youth representatives, aged 18-22, were selected from the United States and Canada and are convening in Chicago on November 14-16, 2008 to launch UNEP’s new Kick the Carbon Habit Education Campaign.
The environmental education campaign aims to increase awareness of resource conservation in a world where natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. UNEP recognizes the crucial role education can play in mitigating climate change and believes that young people are critical partners and leaders in the quest for a more sustainable future.
UNEP’s goal with the Kick the Carbon Habit Education Campaign is to form a self-sustaining network of North American youth leaders that will use educational events to reach out to their communities and encourage new as well as proven methods of resource conservation.
“With the unprecedented environmental challenges facing the world today, we applaud the commitment of these 20 young Americans and Canadians to demonstrate that youth are not just the voice of tomorrow but the leaders of today,” said Amy Fraenkel, Director and Regional Representative of UNEP’s Regional Office for North America.
The youth representatives were chosen for their leadership skills and experience working on environmental issues.  In an effort to broaden the climate change education efforts of students at the university level, UNEP is focusing the campaign’s outreach on children (8-14 years old), youth (14-22 years old), and the general population.
University and high school students will engage these three target audiences in events such as a resource conservation fair at an elementary school or handing out eco-friendly bulbs to homeowners living near a university campus.
At the conference in Chicago, this pioneer group of young people will be given the tools to inspire involvement in the campaign.  They will be given a “start-up kit” of educational activities to use and distribute within their region.
The Youth Network representatives will use modern technology, including their website www.kicktheCO2habit.org, to liaise with UNEP and each other; to develop strategies for the growth of the campaign; to write and distribute a monthly e-newsletter to update volunteers on activities taking place within the network; and to play a leadership role in deciding future goals of the network.
For more information or to schedule an interview during the conference, please contact: Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Deputy Director, UNEP Regional Office for North America, Tel: (202) 974-1307 or (202) 812-2100; E-mail: egc@rona.unep.org or Youth Representative, Kelley Greenman, Tel: (305) 393-7293.

Further Resources
World Environment Day 2008