Youth weigh in on greenhouse-gas emissions
July 8, 2009
KALAMAZOO--Thirty Michigan students will gather at Western Michigan University Sunday through Friday, July 12-17, to discuss ways the state can reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions.
The weeklong Youth Policy Summit on Greenhouse Gas Reductions in Michigan will culminate with the participating high school students developing a final set of recommendations that will be sent to the state's leading energy policymakers and stakeholders.
Members of the public will get a preview of the students' final recommendations during an on-campus presentation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 16, in Room 1035 of WMU's Fetzer Center. Those wishing to attend the 6 p.m. buffet dinner that will precede the presentation should RSVP by July 13 to Annemarie Fussell at (970) 455-4231.
The summit participants represent the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center; the Berrien County Math and Science Center in Berrien Springs; City High School in Grand Rapids; the Dearborn Center for Math, Science and Technology; Eaton Rapids High School; the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center; Litchfield High School; and Westwood High School in Ishpeming.
The summit will run concurrently with Climate Status Investigation training for 20 Michigan middle and high school teachers from communities across the state who annually reach thousands of students. The CSI program will provide the educators with the training and tools they need to introduce the topic of global climate change to their students using a neutral, science-based interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates hands-on lessons and labs.
Annemarie Fussell, Youth Policy Summit co-director, says to prepare for Michigan's summit, the participating students spent this past spring semester conducting research on greenhouse-gas issues. During the summit, they will discuss policy solutions for reducing such gas emissions, specifically focusing on what economic opportunities exist statewide to address this issue.
"The students will negotiate consensus-based recommendations while engaging each other as well as a panel of state energy experts," Fussell says. "The recommendations will be shared not only with Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Michigan's Legislature, State Board of Education and energy leaders, but also with members of other state legislatures, the U.S. Congress and a broad range of business and non-governmental organizations."
State energy experts
The panel of experts will include representatives from American Electric Power, CMS Energy Corp., Core Energy LLC, Dow Chemical Co., the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Michigan Environmental Council and WMU.
Both the Youth Policy Summit and concurrent CSI training are signature programs of the Keystone Center, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Keystone, Colo., with offices in Boston; Denver; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1975, the center promotes non-biased science-based learning through a variety of education programs and brings together public-, private- and civic-sector leaders to solve contentious policy issues.
Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education
To conduct versions of its Youth Policy Summit and CSI training for Michigan, Keystone is partnering with the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education at WMU and MGRRE's K-12 outreach program, called CoreKids. Part of the Department of Geosciences, MGRRE focuses on basic and applied research, student training, continuing education and outreach related to energy, natural resources and the environment.
"Our scientists and CoreKids staff are pleased to help in the development of the policy makers of tomorrow," Susan F. Grammer, MGRRE education outreach coordinator, says of the Youth Policy Summit. "We hope that the public will join us in thanking these hard-working students for their interest in current issues by stopping in at 6:30 p.m. July 16 to hear their presentation."
Sponsoring the Michigan summit and teacher-training events are the American Transmission Co., the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Dow Chemical Co., the DTE Energy Foundation, FedEx, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Shell Oil Corp. and the Wege Foundation.