The first Youth Climate Challenge was held in conjunction with the 2019 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit and hosted over 8 youth teams from communities across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This Challenge provided an opportunity to come together, focus on climate strategies and solutions, and advance resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. Following the Challenge, students were offered the opportunity to propose their projects for funding to implement. The following project has been awarded support for the 2019-2020 year.
About the Inaugural Youth Climate Challenge:
In collaboration with partners from across the region, the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Climate Science Alliance, and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals convened the second Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit in August 2019. The first Youth Climate Challenge was held in conjunction with this event and hosted over 8 youth teams from communities across the Southwestern United States and Mexico. This Challenge provided an opportunity to come together, focus on climate strategies and solutions, and advance resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. Following the Challenge, students were offered the opportunity to propose their projects for funding to implement. The following project has been awarded support for the 2019-2020 year.
Promoting Indigenous Voices in Baja
Team Members: Erika Rosquillas, Judy Baird, Carlo Rosas, Eugenio Leyva, Ismael Plascencia
Community of Impact: Baja California, Mexico
Our Story: During the Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit we realized that in our community indigenous tribes or rural communities are not taken into consideration when making decisions about the environment and its resources. Most western scientists in Ensenada have a very objective way of viewing nature and overlook the cultural meaning behind some natural resources.
We have participated in several projects to change the environmental culture, to try to solve specific problems in our community, but until now we had never considered tribal opinion and knowledge. By attending an event that takes in consideration knowledge of tribal leaders, it became evident that the ancestral knowledge of the land and resources are essential for taking action against climate change. With great sorrow we realized how far behind our relationship with the indigenous groups of our locality is. There is not even a small opportunity for a real dialogue on climate change; we cannot build anything because we do not have the cultural resources to begin with. That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to make the first step in uniting the young scientific community with indigenous groups.
Our Solution: Our long term goal is to create a community that’s willing to discuss how climate change affects our region and our resources ecologically and culturally. Furthermore, we seek to change the attitude with which western young scientists, researchers and teachers perceive climate change, in order to build a community that understands that natural resources are not only composed of objective ideas but also innate cultural meanings
Our first step to achieve our long term goal is to create a workshop in our university along tribe members ,for students, teachers and researchers, in which we can collect plausible knowledge about our land and the way our ancestors have lived on it.
Our main goal is to compromise our university's community to act accordingly to the knowledge they have acquired in the workshop, considering the scientific and tribal perspectives integratively. We believe that our project can be a starter point here in Baja California for a new way to unite scientists and people who have cultural knowledge of our resources and a deeper consciousness of nature itself to work together so we can learn from each other and as community work on achieving climate hope.
About the The Youth Climate Challenge: An immersive experience that connects students with leading climate scientists, practitioners, artists, and fellow youth. In challenge teams, students are guided and challenged to identify and analyze the climate impacts in their own communities. Together, they investigate climate strategies and solutions and formulate action plans to implement in their sphere of influence.
To learn more about the Youth Climate Challenge, please visit: https://www.climatesciencealliance.org/youth-climate-challenge
To sponsor the Youth Climate Challenge program and the next generation of environmental change-makers, please visit: