Our YouCAN (Youth Climate Action Now) program trains and supports youth and their families to engage in civic participation with local government, advocating for lasting legal protection for the atmosphere in the form of emission reduction targets and climate recovery planning in line with the best available science. The YouCAN movement kicked off by Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization, who’s purpose is to protect earth’s natural systems for current and future generations. Through YouCAN, youth participate directly in local government decision-making and petition City Councils for adoption of locally-tailored climate recovery laws, testify in public meetings of the City Council, and advocate at work sessions with local government leaders.
YouCAN began in Eugene, Oregon, where YouCAN youth successfully worked with the Eugene City Council in 2014 to pass the first-in-the-nation science-based Climate Recovery Ordinance. Eugene’s Mayor Kitty Piercy said, “YouCAN has come to us to speak about climate disruption, and to ask us to take action to protect their futures. . . I am proud of YouCAN and Our Children’s Trust who came week after week, month after month asking our city to pass an ordinance to reduce our carbon emissions. Our children encouraged us to be the first city to enact a science-based climate recovery ordinance. . . My hope is that other cities across the nation will now follow Eugene’s example.”
YouCAN is now partnering with youth, schools, and community organizations in several cities around the Pacific Northwest to encourage them to follow in Eugene’s footsteps. We are training youth and their families, teachers and supporters in these cities about youth civic engagement, science-based prescriptions for climate recovery, youth leadership, and community organizing. We support these youth, teachers and organizing partners in their advocacy for science-based government action on carbon emission reductions and climate recovery planning in their communities. We provide them with ongoing organizing, community education/outreach, and communications support, as well as in-depth consultation and training on working with their city councils for successful adoption of citywide climate recovery planning.