As Things Heat Up Across the Nation, Young People Work to Cool Things Down

This summer, over 200 young people are dedicating their summers to creating a more clean, just and prosperous future.
07/24/2011 10:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Record-breaking temperatures. Political gridlock. Environmental legislation under attack.

How are young people responding? Well this weekend, in 14 cities, young people took action to cool things down. They're going out in the blistering heat, working on community clean energy projects, and building support for action through community canvasses and bike rides.

This summer, over 200 young people are dedicating their summers to creating a more clean, just and prosperous future.

Working with Grand Aspiration’s Summer of Solutions and a host of other partner organizations, these 200 young pioneers are pulling together the resources and people to set-up organizations, projects and campaigns to make a tangible impact in the world. It's an incredible achievement and we're starting to see the outcomes of their work across the country.

We will not wait for our elected officials to act — a new wing of the movement is developing; one focused on solutions, social entrepreneurship, and creative tactics. These young people are pioneering solutions and programs in their communities, and blazing a trail for the country to follow.

We are beginning to build, create, and implement solutions that will become the foundation for a necessary social and economic shift by piloting ground-breaking strategies for energy efficiency, urban agriculture, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, waste reduction, environmental education, ecological management, and green industry.

Halfway through the summer, and on the heels of last weekend's nationwide discussion on Rebuilding the American Dream, they have a blog series going on their “Mid-Summer Dreams” and how they are coming together for a weekend of action to rebuild their cities:

  • Engaging the community: While Big Coal's cronies in Congress are working to roll back critical public health provisions, the New Hampshire Team of New England Climate Summer is out collecting petitions to defend our clean air and water. Community engagement and canvasses are popping up all over the country. In Corvallis, OR they are "Critical Mass Canvassing" with 50 volunteers to get out in the community and support hundreds of people to make more sustainable choices in their lives. They're giving people over 70 options of simple actions to take, so that there's something for everyone. To see how effective this can be, look no further than WeatherizeDC, who will be out this weekend building more support for home energy audits and creating green jobs, and to the Summer of Solutions in Pioneer Valley, MA where they have signed up 800 people to reduce their energy usage by 10% this summer!

  • Using people power in non-traditional ways: In Atlanta, GA Southern Energy Network is hosting a townhall meeting with residents concerned about the Cobb Coal Plant. They've been out knocking on doors all summer, engaging citizens as members of the Electrical Member Coop, and supporting them to voice their concerns about the coal plant. These members have the ability to determine the future of coal in Georgia!
  • Getting dirty (and sweaty!): Young people are digging in. They're launching energy efficiency projects, and planting community gardens. In Fayetteville, AR they're leading a bike ride from the farmers market to a community garden to take people on the next step to food self-sufficiency. And in Connecticut, Climate Summer has a community bike ride in Mystic, while Summer of Solutions continues their urban gardening project by including the community with a potluck discussion on food justice and then getting to work. They have already filled over 50 wooden garden beds and nearly 200 tire beds.
  • We're seeing a lot of action this summer and it's inspiring. Visit for report-backs and photos from the weekend!