Young People at the Forefront of the Climate Movement

BSAC/YOB and Sustaining All Life Team

For 10 days five Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) and Youth On Board (YOB) representatives, including members, alumni, and a staff person attended the climate talks in Paris, France as the youth component of the 60 person Sustaining All Life delegation. The group returned to Boston changed for life having made personal, emotional, and political connections that will support our climate justice work at home.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience for our young people and how it will impact their lives and the work we do with BSAC/YOB.

Despite the Paris attacks we still held 33 events in 10 days – youth caucuses, 7 workshops, 3 public forums, and countless listening projects. 

Youth Caucus

We all worked countless hours per day to ensure we connected with as many people as possible there and spread our message about the importance of young people listening to each other and fighting racism in this fight for climate justice.

People said we were the only group organizing spaces for people to talk to one another, and for young people to organize and share stories. These daily youth caucuses were sought after and always full.


BSAC at Paris Climate Talks
BSAC alumnus Jean Charles leading at one of our daily youth session at the COP21.

Sharing & Listening

We met hundreds of youth and adults from around the globe and discussed their climate justice work.

We ran international youth and adult/youth forums throughout the time in the open area called Climate Generations.

We shared our successes in Boston on:

  • solar power
  • school building energy efficient retrofits
  • divestment from fossil fuels
  • gas leaks
  • school-based climate curriculum
  • climate rallies, and more
Paris Climate Talks Youth Forum
One of our daily Listening Forums

We deepened our understanding, and shared with others, how racism, capitalism, and oppression play into climate change.

We were very moved and impacted from listening to indigenous people and those from oppressed nations who participated in the summit and spoke about the loss of their land.

We used our Active Listening skills to provide space for participants to share their work and feelings about climate change and its impact on their lives and on the earth. And during one of our Listening Projects, we were interviewed by Democracy Now.

BSAC at Listening Event COP21
Engaging people on the streets of Paris to learn what they think about climate change at COP21

“Tackling climate change is not just about keeping fossil fuels in the ground, it is about toppling oppression…it’s about power coming back to the people”




Thank you to everyone who supports our climate justice work at BSAC and YOB. And a very special THANK YOU to the Barr Foundation for their support, which provided us this opportunity to represent Boston youth at COP21.


Written by YOB representatives.