Westchester: Green County USA

Westchester County and One World are inviting youth from across the county to come together to help Westchester County become Green County USA

Over the course of the last ten years One World has built up a global learning community that operates in 200 classrooms in 10 countries around the world.   One of the important goals of our global network is to help students from across the world come together to learn with and from one another.  The hope is that by bringing youth together to address global issues we will be able to begin to help build global solutions to global challenges.

One issue that is in obvious need of a global solution is climate change.  Over the course of the last several years, One World has worked closely with the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help schools reduce and offset their carbon emissions through a program the UNFCCC calls Climate Neutral Now.  

Indeed, we were thrilled when the Port Chester School District became the first school district in the United States to work with the UNFCCC to become Climate Neutral Now.  

Here in the US, building on Port Chester’s success, One World has partnered with Westchester County government to encourage every school in Westchester to become Climate Neutral Now.  In addition, here in Westchester, One World and Westchester County government are partnering with the UK based Let’s Go Zero campaign to encourage Westchester schools to sign a second pledge encouraging schools to make every effort to become carbon neutral by 2030.   

We are thrilled to report that the Elmsford School District became the first school district in the US to sign that dual pledge on Earth Day of this year.  The Earth Day event which was run by Elmsford’s environmental club brought together Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Elmsford’s Superintendent of Schools Marc Baiocco among other county educational and governmental leaders. 

One of the important rational of the Let’s Go Zero campaign is to involve youth directly in solving the climate change challenge.  To that end, One World is working with Westchester County to encourage Westchester youth to come together in an effort to help Westchester County become recognized as Green County USA.   

Imagine what it would say about Westchester County if every school in our county, private and public, undertook this dual pledge. If successful this dual pledge campaign would mean that Westchester schools would be climate neutral now not in 2050. Moreover, the schools would at the same time make a commitment to do everything possible to become carbon neutral by 2030. 

Green County Eco-Literacy Youth Conference Saturday October 9, 2021

In recent weeks, One World working with committed youth environmental leaders has begun to pull together a county-wide youth team that will not only encourage Westchester schools to sign the dual pledge but just as importantly bring together environmental clubs, environmental educators and environmental leaders from across the county to share best practice.  

Every school in Westchester County teaches environmental science.   How often do educators have an opportunity to break out of their educational silos to share best practice?  How often do those environmental classes break out of their classroom to work with their local municipal sustainability committees to begin to put in place real world environmental solutions?   

Our goal here is to help Westchester students become among the most Eco Literate students in the nation by tapping into the extraordinary educational resource we have here in Westchester County by sharing best practice across schools and school districts.    To that end we will be organizing a best practice educational conference in Westchester on Saturday October 9th.

Our hope is that Westchester youth actions can become a model for the world.  Indeed, one goal for this conference will be to share best practice youth environmental experience with students from around the world as well as from Westchester. 

Our hope is that this conference will be keynoted with videos from the two most powerful climate change people on Earth, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and UK Climate Change Champion Nigel Topping. 

All of this work will serve as a run up to the all-important COP 26 conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1 to November 12, 2021.   We will organize educational events here in Westchester to coincide with COP 26 much of which we expect will be virtual.   

Volunteers Needed for Youth-led Initiative

We’ve created two volunteer teams to help with this effort.

Conference Organizing Team

Pulling off a successful conference will require a lot of work.   We will need to set up a team to begin to organize the conference. 

Dual Pledge Support Team 

We will need a team to encourage Westchester schools to sign the dual pledge and help them do that.  This team will undergo training in how to use the UNFCCC calculator.

Green County USA: Dual Pledge

One World has teamed up with Westchester County in an effort to generate a grassroots campaign here in Westchester we are calling Green County USA. The goal of the education component of this campaign will be to mobilize Westchester schools – educators and students – to address the climate challenge by working globally and locally at the same time.

Climate Neutral Now Resources

UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now Presentation

The Path to Climate Neutrality: The Basics for Schools. View the United Nations Climate Change Global Action Plan

UNFCCC Calculator Presentation

In continuation of The Path to Climate Neutrality: The Basics for Schools. Learn more about the emissions calculator and how to use it. 

The UNFCCC Calculator

The UNFCCC secretariat has prepared this greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions calculator to provide the general public with a free and up-to-date methodology for estimating GHG emissions.

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