Young people are mobilizing to create healthier environmental futures. A packed conference held this February in San Francisco brought together hundreds of middle- and high-school students from nine Bay Area counties to discuss the climate change crisis. A large focus was on creating real transportation choices that minimize air pollution and promote strong families and communities. Young people discussed safe ways to bicycle, carpool, and take public transit.
Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) is a program of Spare the Air Youth, a partnership of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. A youth advisory council of five members helped to plan the event.
The program got its start when the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission adopted an $80 million Climate Initiatives program to seek greenhouse gas emission-reduction strategies. Regional coordination was at the top of the list.
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) last year recognized the Bay Area’s Spare the Air Youth Program with an Excellence in Transportation Award. Caltrans had received nearly 100 entries from public agencies, private contractors, and consultants from across the state.
Spare the Air is actively promoting resources to help educate the next generation. For games and activities, including classroom materials for parents and teachers see: http://www.sparetheairyouth.com/parents-teachers.