Residents Forward to host first PW Youth Climate Summit

The logo for the PW Youth Summit stresses the importance of being environmentally friendly.

The logo for the PW Youth Summit stresses the importance of being environmentally friendly.

Amanda Krantz, Staff Writer

On Apr. 28, Residents Forward, formerly known as Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, is hosting their first annual Youth Climate Summit, the first of its kind on Long Island. 

The summit, which will take place at the Port Washington Public Library, is open to teens in grades 8-12, and its goal is to advance knowledge, educate, and help develop plans to protect the environment in Port Washington.  Multiple famous speakers, environmentalists, and experts on the subject will attend the event. 

 “I have always been interested in learning more about the Port Washington environment and current issues with it,” said senior Eve Harari.  “I’m excited to have the chance to apply to the Youth Climate Summit so I can finally learn how to make a change.”

2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. John Byrne will be the event’s keynote speaker.  Dr. Byrne won for his his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a multinational group that has dedicated itself to doing research and providing the world with influential solutions to the effects of climate change.  Dr. Byrne is the chairman and president of the Foundation For Renewable Energy and Environment (FREE).

The climate summit will include workshops on water, food, and waste issues in Port Washington.  As a town surrounded by water on all three sides, the water workshop will focus on how to keep our water pollution-free.  Students attending the summit will also have the opportunity to learn about how climate change is affecting coastal waters, such as the Manhasset Bay and the Long Island Sound.

This includes developing the students’ knowledge on how the rise in our sea levels will affect the people and wildlife in our town, the impacts of cesspools in our surface waters, and the overall quality of water in Port Washington.

“The view here in Port Washington is amazing,” said senior Sami Levine.  “It’s important to keep our waters clean so we can continue to enjoy them and they can stay so beautiful.”

The food workshop will discuss how far our food travels before it gets to our plates.  It will also expose the differences that buying food locally or growing it yourself can make with regard to our climate. 

Master Gardener Reese Michaels will run this workshop along with two Schreiber students.  They will teach the proper methods of making Square Foot Gardens, an extremely eco-friendly method of gardening.

With Square Foot Gardens, someone can conveniently and easily help grow their own produce while significantly decreasing their carbon footprint and benefiting their overall health.

“I was recently told that my salads travel thousands of miles to get to my plate,” said senior Jen Short.  “I would love to learn what to buy and maybe even try to grow some vegetables of my own.”

The last workshop focuses on waste and how waste affects our town.  Students will learn about commonly used plastics and what reducing, reusing, and recycling truly mean.  It will feature a video of Lauren Singer, a woman who lives a waste-free life and will give tips on how to join her on this life path.

The day will end with the formation of Climate Action Projects (CAPs).  Groups of teens will write down and create a CAP for themselves that they hope to accomplish within the next year, pertaining to water, food, or waste.

The goal of these CAPs is to let Port Washington’s youth decide the future for the environment in Port Washington and work to make it a better place for all.

“There are many [environmental] problems that can be solved as an outcome to the youth climate summit and I am excited to hear the ideas of other students who may be just as interested in the environment —if not more—as I am,” said sophomore Max Goldman.

Residents Forward’s Youth Climate Summit is going to focus on how Port Washington teens can take action within their own lives to better the environment.  Port Washington, along with many towns on Long Island, are particularly vulnerable to changes in our climate, so the summit will emphasize the importance of immediate action.

“We are lucky that such a great opportunity is being offered to us here at Schreiber for the first time ever on Long Island,” said Goldman.  “I can’t wait to be part of something that is going to spark big change in our community.”

Applications to be part of the first ever Youth Climate Summit on Long Island will be accepted until March 31st, and only 100 teens will be accepted.  You can apply online at the Youth Climate Summit website to improve Port Washington’s methods for environmental preservation.