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Cape Cod Climate Ambassadors prepare to support a sustainable future 

Lauren Schoote, a sophomore at Sturgis Charter Public School East, thinks algae farms could help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Starting with her family’s restaurant, St. John Paul II junior Maeve Short plans to donate food waste to a local compost company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with processing organic waste. Cape Cod Regional Technical High School sophomore Lily Gladkowski launched an after-school Climate Change club to encourage her peers to take action.   

These are just some of more than a dozen presentations made during the final session of the Cape Cod Climate Ambassador Program, comprised of local high school students who spent the past three months learning about climate change and ways to take action. Student climate projects, a core component of the Program, demonstrate how the Climate Ambassadors can have a personal impact on climate change at home or in their school communities. Projects ranged from a youth-focused Climate News platform to informational posters to sustainability guides, all demonstrating the knowledge students gained and their commitment to encouraging a climate-forward future. 

“The issue of climate change is a topic I’m very passionate about. The Climate Ambassador Program was a great way to extend that passion outside of school,” Schoote said. “I want to let others know how important it is to speak about climate change. After all, this will be the world we will be left with, and we need to take care of it.    

The 2023 session began in January with a tour of Cape Cod Community College’s sustainably constructed Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center and a lesson in civic engagement at a young age from Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr. Subsequent sessions included discussions on local and global climate causes and impacts, carbon reduction strategies, resiliency planning, and equity considerations.  

Students enjoyed a visit to Cape Cod 5’s innovative and environmentally sensitive headquarters, where local climate leaders Dorothy Savarese and Dan Wolf shared their experience and expertise with climate advocacy and policy.  The final session was held in the Mary Pat Flynn conference room in Barnstable Village on May 9, 2023.

“This program helped me understand how to communicate with town officials about climate change issues,” said Ryan Simone, a junior at Falmouth High School.   

The Cape Cod Commission created the Climate Ambassador Program in 2021 to educate, engage, and empower young people on Cape Cod to work together to combat climate change. The program includes information to help students better understand climate change, learn how to communicate about climate effectively, and learn about actions they can take individually and collectively to bring about change. 

The 2023 final session was held at the Mary Pat Flynn Conference Room in Barnstable Village on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

“I learned that as a community, young people can come together to discuss and share local issues and create short- and long-term solutions to the local impacts of climate change,” said Falmouth Academy sophomore Maria Soares, whose project titled Providing Accessible Information for the Brazilian Community included web-based climate resources presented in Portuguese. 

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