For youth from the U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, climate change is not theoretical; it is a reality. This summer we launched the JSA Global Climate Change Project to empower our students from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to affect change in their communities. Thanks to the generous support from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, 66 students from these regions participated in JSA summer programs in June and July of 2016. The Global Climate Change Project offered a channel to apply the skills students learned at JSA summer school to real solutions.
Through our program, students learned the latest research about how this global issue impacts their islands. With JSA faculty and staff guidance, they designed strategic year-long projects to engage their communities. Our students cultivated their passion for climate change and felt prepared to return home as advocates. It has been only eight weeks since the end of their summer school sessions, and these amazing students have already progressed with their activism projects.
The feedback we have received on the impact of our program is astounding. Conrad Jr. Timothy, a student from Kosrae in Micronesia said: “It was thanks to the program that each of us can express our ideas proudly and take charge in situations where leaders are needed. An example of this is how I have been forming a group among Kosrae High School’s seniors where we try and get the general public more involved in cleaning our island. We are starting off small by cleaning the school and encouraging the lower grades to participate in our endeavor. Once we get enough recognition for our deeds, we’d be able to clean the streets with the help of multiple organizations in Kosrae. We’re starting to make changes for the better but the Micronesian Activists and I don’t just want to stop there.” We are proud of our students who take on these issues and engage others in their efforts to make a change.