January 10, 2013

PHS hosts climate education assembly

PLATTSBURGH — With the help of Flash animations and hip-hop music, Plattsburgh High School students were encouraged Wednesday to take action against climate change. 

During a  presentation in the school’s auditorium, Brian Stilwell, an educator with the Alliance for Climate Education, told students how the future of the planet largely depends on their efforts to reduce carbon emissions caused by humans’ use of fossil fuels. 

“It’s about you and the choices you make,” he told his audience. 

A national nonprofit organization, the alliance strives to educate youth about climate change in hopes of inspiring them to be part of the solution. 

“We really focus on solutions and what students can actually do ,” Stilwell told the Press-Republican in a separate interview. 

After giving the alliance’s high-energy presentation on climate change at the Wild Center’s Adirondack Youth Climate Summit in Tupper Lake in November, Stilwell teamed up with Jen Kretser, director of programs at the Wild Center, to bring the program to area high schools. 

“We really wanted to do more in the schools,” Kretser said. 

In addition to PHS, Kretser and Stilwell will have visited 13 other area high schools by the end of the week, spreading climate-change awareness. 


Using colorful animations and lighthearted sound effects, the alliance’s program strives to educate kids about the devastating effects of rising global temperatures in a way that captures students’ attention and motivates them. 

“We tried really hard to make this really relevant and engaging for a high-school audience,” Stilwell said. 

The presentation includes clips of youth across the nation who have made efforts to reduce the carbon footprints in their schools and communities. 

At the end of the program, Stilwell asks students to make a pledge to do one thing over the course of the year to reduce emissions, such as unplugging gadgets, carpooling to school and carrying reusable water bottles. 

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