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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to hit pause on an array of big plans and exciting events, but some things can’t be stopped. 

Climate Week NYC, for instance, is not about to give up the fight for climate justice. 

Hosted by Climate Group, this year’s Climate Week NYC will take place online from Sept. 21 to Sept. 27. The week-long summit will focus on how we can pursue a net-zero future as we rebuild after the pandemic. This year’s programming will include more than 200 events, making it the biggest climate summit of 2020.

The events are categorized by 10 key themes, including Youth, Public Mobilization, and Justice, for which Global Citizen is the presenting partner. This is Global Citizen’s second year partnering with Climate Week NYC to promote youth-led and grassroots climate action.

“The climate crisis is already hurting the world's poorest people, despite their contributing least to it,” said Simon Moss, co-founder and managing director of campaigns at Global Citizen. “Global Citizens around the world are united in their commitment to take action to address it.”

Here are 10 ways young people can take action and promote change during Climate Week NYC this year. 

1. Support Local and Sustainable NYC Businesses

There are many businesses and community organizations in New York City that are taking action to address climate change. Climate Week NYC’s Climate Action Is Our Business campaign features 65 businesses that have made sustainability a priority. They include restaurants, coffee shops, zero-waste stores, and innovative urban farms. Some have also launched COVID-19 response initiatives to support their communities.

2. Share Photos of NYC’s Green Buildings

Every year, landmark buildings in New York City turn green to signal the launch of Climate Week NYC. This year, the Empire State Building, Javits Center, Pier 17, Coney Island Parachute, and more will glow green in the night sky on Sept. 20. Share photos of these buildings to spread news of Climate Week NYC and everything it stands for.

3. Attend a Climate Week NYC Event

From “Youth at the Forefront of the Climate Movement” to “A Global Approach to Tackling Food Waste,” Climate Week NYC is hosting more than 200 events this year. Topics include clean energy, climate adaptations, sustainable travel, and more. Since events are digital due to COVID-19, you can register from anywhere in the world. Be sure to tune in to Climate Group’s Facebook page for live streams of the opening ceremony and the three-day Hub Live.

4. Help Reduce Food Waste

Up to 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten. Instead, it ends up in landfills where it generates methane, a greenhouse gas that can be up to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Help reduce food waste by finishing what’s on your plate, buying only what you need, and composting your food scraps. You can also help by using services like Imperfect Foods and YourLocal that address the problem of food waste further down the supply chain.

5. Become a Climate Ambassador 

The Climate Museum has designed credit card-sized pamphlets that include tips on how to begin, and sustain, a climate conversation. These Climate Ambassador Cards fit perfectly in your wallet, so you can always be prepared to raise awareness and inspire civic action. 

6. Check Your Voter Registration Status

Voting is one of the most powerful ways you can create change in the US. Make sure you're aware of your state’s important voting deadlines, check your registration status, register to vote, and request an absentee ballot if you plan to vote by mail. Voting is one of the best ways to make your voice heard and support policies that benefit your community. 

7. Create Climate Art for Congress

Even if you're not old enough to vote, you can still make a difference. Another initiative started by the Climate Museum is Climate Art for Congress. Students at all grade levels are invited to create illustrated notes that urge their representatives to center equitable climate solutions in legislation. The museum has so far sent 500 notes to senators and congressional representatives. Use your voice and creativity to stand up for the climate and your right to a livable future.

8. Explore Our Natural History 

Climate Week NYC is a time to take action and call for change, but also a time to appreciate and learn more about the wonders of our planet. Spend a night, or day, at the American Museum of Natural History and explore our universe through virtual trips hosted by the museum. You can also take a virtual tour of the museum or download its Explorer app to see exhibit highlights and take quizzes.

9. Download These Climate Apps

We Don't Have Time is a social network for finding solutions to the climate crisis, and its app helps you stay connected with climate activists from all around the world. The organization even plants a tree for each new app user. Also be sure to download the Climate Week NYC app to keep up with all the programs and businesses featured during the week.

10. Learn More About Climate

One of the easiest ways you can take action on climate is to learn more about it. The New York Times curated a selection of books to help you understand more about the climate crisis, and also produced an interactive piece on climate migration. The New Republic is a good source for climate news on green politics and life in a warming world. You can also sign up for its climate newsletter Apocalypse Soon for weekly updates. And, of course, Global Citizen regularly covers the latest in climate news so be sure to sign up for our newsletter!


Defend the Planet

10 Things Young People Can Do During Climate Week NYC This Year

By Kristine Liao