What To Know About The Youth Climate Summit That Zero Hour Is Holding

by Lani Seelinger
Glenn Hunt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The younger generation is going to be the one saddled with the increasingly serious problems that climate change is causing on this globe, but they're not taking the issue sitting down. And in mid-July, they're proving that to the world. The Zero Hour Youth Climate Summit is happening in Miami on July 12-14, and it's an important opportunity for the student activists involved to show everyone how serious they are about protecting the Earth.

While people have been discussing global warming for several decades, dire reports keep coming out about the state of the climate right now. In 2018, the United Nations released a report that estimated that the most dire effects of climate change could kick in after just over two decades. Just after Thanksgiving 2018, the Trump administration attempted to bury the National Climate Assessment, which predicted that the effects of climate change could devastate numerous sectors of the American economy. While the European Union and the signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement are working toward a sustainable future, the progress isn't fast enough to prevent the effects that are always becoming clear — like extreme storms, droughts, and heat waves, as NASA wrote.

The younger generations are going to be the ones to truly reckon with this problem — and Zero Hour's Youth Climate Summit will help collect and put forward their priorities. Here's what you need to know about the event.

Zero Hour is a youth-led activist group dedicated to fighting climate change, because, as the organization's vision statement says, "we cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish."

Rather than just working to diminish the effects of climate change, though, Zero Hour takes a broader view of the problem, according to the Youth Climate Summit Facebook event page. Zero Hour, it says, is "determined to tackle the systems of oppression: Colonialism, Capitalism, Racism, and Patriarchy; that are at the root of the climate crisis."

Zero Hour's founder is Jamie Margolin, who got involved in activist work when she was only 15, according to Jewish magazine Forward. Now, she and her team are putting together an event that, as they explain on their Facebook page, isn't "just any climate action summit -- this is an intervention and wakeup call for the world and mainstream climate movement."

Where Is It?

The event will take place in Miami, and the organizers didn't just choose that at random.

"The team chose to host the summit in Miami because of the huge disasters Miami is already facing and will continue to face with worsening climate change. With two degrees Celsius of warming, the entire city will be underwater," the event website reads. "With the summit, we hope to uplift the citizens of Miami, and train more young people to be effective climate justice advocates."

What Will The Event Entail?

There will be many pieces to the Youth Climate Summit. According to the website, there will be seminars, workshops, roundtables, and art exhibits, all looking at the issue of climate change from different angles. For example, have you ever thought about the connection between climate change and gun violence? There's a panel on that. There's also a keynote address by former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and a science fair with all sorts of interactive exhibits.

Are Any Celebrities Involved?

Maybe you've heard of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? They follow a new, themed set of Instagram accounts each month to promote awareness, according to The Sun, and this month Zero Hour was one of them, part of a set about the environment. Actors Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle have also given financial support, according to Green Matters, and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will be there to give a talk.

How Can I Get Involved?

If you live near Miami or you can get there for the weekend of July 12, then there's still more than enough time to register for Zero Hour's Youth Climate Summit. According to the website on the registration form, attendees are only told that the cost per person is about $70 to $100 and then asked to donate whatever they feel comfortable with. If you can't swing the full cost, you can just pay whatever fits into your budget.

If you don't live nearby, then you can check out Zero Hour's website to find a sister summit — or host a Youth Climate Summit of your own! Raising awareness about a movement like this on social media or with your friends is also a good way to get involved, and of course, you can always donate to Zero Hour.

Right now, all we know is that climate change is a huge problem facing the globe. While we have ideas on what to do, we don't know how to solve it. This climate summit, however, is a place where those solutions could really start to emerge.