Sierra Club: Youth Deserve a Bigger Role in Climate Discussions


Natasha Blakely,

In Dubai: Cherelle Blazer, 

Dubai, UAE – The theme for Friday, December 8, at COP28 is “Youth, children, education and skills,” which is also the day the youth climate dialogue will be held. This year, U.S. President Joe Biden launched the American Climate Corps, which provides pathways to climate resilience careers for young people. Other legislative opportunities to encourage youth outdoor engagement in the United States include the Outdoors for All Act that funds the creation and improvement of outdoor recreation facilities, and the Every Kid Outdoors program, which grants all 4th graders free access to federal public lands.

Much of Sierra Club’s work, particularly in the Outdoors for All campaign, is targeted at addressing the role that youth can play when it comes to climate work. Through a network of volunteer leaders in the Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, Sierra Club leads outings for thousands of young people every year. Sierra Club also is a founding member of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), a coalition of over 100 organizations that work to advocate for opportunities for children and youth to engage with the outdoors and policies that encourage that, such as the Outdoors for All Act and Every Kid Outdoors program. OAK also brings dozens of youth advocates and leaders to Capitol Hill to speak directly to lawmakers on the environment and outdoor engagement as part of an annual event.

In response, Sierra Club Director for International Climate and Policy Cherelle Blazer, released the following statement:

“Youth can and must be prioritized when discussing the climate crisis and efforts around addressing climate-related issues. The actions we choose to take will have an undeniable impact on their futures, and young people deserve a role in determining what that future will look like. Youth are already leading on this, and we need to uplift those efforts and follow their lead.

“The youth-led climate dialogue is a great start by providing the next generation of leaders the opportunity for their voices to be heard and to share their ideas on solutions to the climate crisis. But the United States is in a position to lead by highlighting more youth voices on climate issues and continuing to pass legislation like the recently introduced Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act, a package that includes the Outdoors for All Act. The administration needs to provide more opportunities for youths to engage in climate discussions and get involved in creating solutions to the crisis that they are already experiencing.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit