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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Youth organization speaks at UN summit, urges clean energy development

The youth of America lent their voices at a United Nations summit on sustainable development and energy. The volunteer-driven youth organization, SustainUS, is a national organization that gives young people the power in helping make a better world that they live in and inherit one day.

Twenty-seven of today's youth from all over America have come to New York City at the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development. Elise Flemings, a student from the College of Atlantic in Maine, is the first youth delegate since 2002 invited by the U.S. State Department to be part of the U.S. delegation.

The 2006 theme of the meeting is checking progress on energy development and climate change. The goal, according to SustainUS, is demonstrating that youths are taking charge in their communities and campuses in helping clean energy measures that reduce contributions of greenhouse gases involved with climate change.

Anushka Shenoy is the co-coordinator of the SustainUS program, which is dubbed Agents of Change, and is aimed at having youth delegates go to international meetings, such as the sustainable development commission.

"Youth are agents of change in this country, especially with the momentum towards more sustainable and clean sources of energy," Shenoy said.

Thirteen participants were chosen to be part of the SustainUS delegation after a competitive selection process. Between them and other delegates, the SustainUS delegation represents 14 states, seven countries of origin, and speakers of 17 different languages.

This year, the youth of America spoke even louder in the discussions after the U.S. State Department committed itself to invite Elise Flemings to join the delegation.

One of the co-coordinators of SustainUS-Maine, Flemings spoke of her role in New York and said, "I'm really excited for this incredible opportunity to share with the U.S. government the best practices and ideas that U.S. and global youth have developed in clean and renewable energy and to share with youth the efforts of the U.S. to strengthen sustainable development around the world."

But the message of the youths at the conference was made clear: "Our future is here on the negotiating table, and that future is dependent on sustainable and clean energy."

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