The YouCAN (Youth Climate Action Now) group 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 climate recovery planning in line with the best available science. The YouCAN movement originated with 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 policies, 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.”
The Corvallis YouCAN chapter in 2018 tried to follow in Eugene’s footsteps. They were involved in civic engagement, advocated for science-based prescriptions for climate recovery using youth leadership, and community organizing. They were unsuccessful in their advocacy of a Corvallis Climate Recovery Ordinance to help Corvallis reduce carbon emissions. They then decided to move forward with another campaign: Corvallis Loves Food, Not Waste! This campaign will initiate a policy that will help establishments recycle and compost their waste, which will help Corvallis take an important step toward reducing greenhouse gases.