Report from New York: Pride in Youth and Local Leadership

Last week in New York City, two events happened as they do this time each year:

  1. The United Nations General Assembly gathered nearly 200 heads of state to connect on global priorities; and
  2. Climate Week, which hosted hundreds of events on topics ranging from resilient cities to regenerative agriculture, and from protecting the burning Amazon rainforest to battery storage for a resilient electric grid.

We saw leadership by corporations, nations and communities, including a major announcement by Amazon’s CEO to meet the Paris climate agreement 10 years early, purchasing 100,000 electric delivery vans and reaching 80% renewable energy by 2024 and zero emissions by 2030.

For 15 years I have participated in these gatherings, and this year was very different for two primary reasons: first, the urgency brought by the incredibly powerful voice of the young, and second, a major recognition of American leadership by localities, from rural communities like ours to New York City, and from Hawaii to Pittsburgh.

I was honored to share all that is going on in our home this year, as right here in Blaine County this also was the year of youth leadership and of local action, marked by our inaugural Sun Valley Youth Forum organized and attended by high school leaders from the Sage School, Sun Valley Community School and Wood River High School and from across the country. (See the videos on www.sunvalleyforum.com.) Hailey Climate Action Coalition joined the world’s September 20 Climate Strike, attracting 350 marchers to the streets of Hailey! This week the Sun Valley Institute launched the Local Food Alliance’s “$5 for Farmers” campaign as just our most recent effort to build lasting quality of place. (Please join us to by pledging at 5forfarmers.com.)

Together, we are building a model that matters, building the future we want, here and around the world!

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24, 2019 (Xinhua) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (1st L) speaks during a youth dialogue at the opening of the UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 23, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS)

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