Current News & Events
Save The Date: YouthCAN Summit May 16, 2020!
Save the Date! BLS YouthCAN is hosting our 14th Annual Youth Summit on Climate Change & Sustainability on Saturday, May 16, 2020! The Summit will take place at the Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is “People Over Profit”; holding corporate & governmental bad actors accountable. We will be highlighting the problems associated with corporate greenwashing, the renewed attacks on environmental activists, child labor, pesticides in farming, the fossil fuel industry, and large corporations draining communities of resources. More details about registration to come!
Arc Platform Interview with Schools including BLS! Watch Now Below!
Beta Testing: USGBC's Arc Platform!
YouthCAN is currently beta testing the Arc platform, a resource designed to help collect, manage, and benchmark data in order to improve our school’s sustainability performance. The Arc platform is supported by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC, the organization behind the LEED Building Performance ratings).
The platform allows us to track our performance in 5 main categories: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience. The performance is reported as a score (out of 100) that reflects the overall sustainability of our school building. Currently, the Arc score for the Boston Latin School is 45, which is relatively high for a building built in 1922.
As part of the beta testing, we will also be using parts of the curriculum provided by learninglab.gcb.org, a resource center for carbon reduction, certification and more.
More information about YouthCAN and Arc is available here.
Past News & Events
West Roxbury "Road Diet" Proposal
YouthCAN is partnering with the West Roxbury Bicycle Committee to improve bicycle safety in West Roxbury. Earlier this year in February, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a car while trying to cross Centre St. The proposal plans to reduce the number of lanes on Centre St. from 4 lanes, to 2 lanes, while adding a dedicated bike lane on each side of the street.
Two of our members, Julia Epshtein and Addy Krom, are working with the West Roxbury Bicycle Committee to make their town a safer place. There was a meeting in October, and all students and Boston residents were invited.
BLS YouthCAN was recently featured in a podcast, hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)!
Friday, Sept. 20: Boston Climate Strike
YouthCAN strives to improve sustainability at a local and global level. We are currently planning to take part in a climate strike in Boston. Come join us on September 20th, 11:30 A.M. at the City Hall Plaza.
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Adopt a Drain Program
YouthCAN is participating with the City of Boston and CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather), an organization that builds climate resilience through education, service, and planning, to host a community event educating parents and encouraging parent participation for the Adopt the Drain program we are advocating for.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: Greenovate Leadership Training
After the Youth Lobby Day, YouthCAN members attended a Leadership Training hosted by Greenovate Boston in collaboration with Boston Public Schools at the Boston Public Library at Copley Square. The training was to help youth leaders become a part of creating a healthier, more sustainable city.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: Youth Lobby Day
BLS YouthCAN members traveled to the Massachusetts State House Wednesday, January 23, 2019 to petition representatives to cosign Rep. Benson's upcoming carbon pricing bill. More information on the bill can be found here.
Monday, Oct. 21: Sustainability Tour with Simmons University Students
On Monday, October 21, 2018, YouthCAN hosted students from Simmons University for a tour of our school's numerous implemented environmental initiatives. The students were particularly interested in our Freight Farm, our school's hydroponic growing space that is in operation every season of the year.
To learn more about the BLS Freight Farm, check out the Freight Farm website here.
Saturday, Oct. 20: YouthCAN at MassArt's Greenfest!
On Saturday, October 20, 2018, YouthCAN participated in MassArt's (Massachusetts College of Arts and Design) 4th annual Greenfest! We tabled as an exhibitor, and raised awareness about the progress that we've made as a student group on environmental issues, and connected with other people interested in action in their communities.
Friday, Oct. 19: Annual YouthCAN Trash Dash!
Join us on Friday, October 19, 2018 to clean up our school grounds!
BLS YouthCAN will be hosting the 4th Annual Trash Dash, a community service event attended by more than 100 students each year. Students will go around the school building and grounds, working in teams to collect the most trash and recyclables possible. The teams that get the most will receive prizes!
Even if your team doesn't win, you will still receive one (1) hour of community service toward your 100-hour graduation requirement.
To participate, you MUST sign up on this Google Form.
For more information, please contact us, or check the Daily Bulletin for an announcement.
Friday, Sept. 28: Underwater Youth March to Fenway Park!
Join us on Friday, September 28, 2018 to raise awareness about rising sea levels in the Boston area.
BLS YouthCAN, along with invited students from Fenway area schools, will be marching to Fenway Park to highlight the many issues related to sea level rise and how they directly impact our community, as well as the greater Boston area. This event is being organized as part of CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather) Week 2018.
Participants should meet in front of Boston Latin School (78 Avenue Louis Pasteur) at 2:30pm, and the march will begin at 3:00pm. Posters will be provided to make our effort more visible, but you are welcome to be creative and bring your own.
For more information, please see the flyer or contact us.
Sign Up for YouthCAN 2018-19!
BLS YouthCAN is now recruiting new members for the 2018-19 school year!
CLICK HERE to sign up for YouthCAN! Our meetings are Mondays, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm.
Or, if you prefer, come visit our booth at the annual Extra Curricular Fair after school on Tuesday, Sept. 25 (sixies/b-zies only) or Wednesday, Sept. 26 (all other students).
YouthCAN Goes to DC!
BLS YouthCAN recently received two awards from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project! We were named as the 2018 Massachusetts Senior School of the Year and the National Senior School of the Year, for our work in promoting energy education in our school, community, and beyond. Check out our Energy Efficionados project here!
From June 22 to June 25, 2018, 16 YouthCAN students flew to Washington, D.C. to attend NEED's Youth Energy and Awards Conference, and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City/Reagan Airport Hotel. While in D.C., we participated in NEED's energy activities, visited various museums, toured the National Mall, went on a dinner cruise on the Potomac River, and even attended meetings in our legislators' offices on Capitol Hill! Photos can be found on our DC Trip 2018 page.
2018 Summit on Climate Change and Sustainability
12th Annual YouthCAN Climate & Sustainability Youth Summit at MIT: Green Around the Globe: Exploring Innovative Sustainability Solutions
See our SUMMIT page for more information!
What: The Summit usually has 200 - 250 students attending from middle and high schools across the Greater Boston region and beyond. The day includes speakers, a whole slate of workshops to choose from, more than 30 local exhibitors, as well as engaging activities like a photo booth, bike-powered smoothies, a green band with a bike-powered sound system, lots youth networking and raffle prizes at the end. Breakfast and lunch are included. We will focus on the different strategies that countries around the world are using to combat the issue of climate change and promote sustainability. We have planned an exciting selection of speakers, workshops, activities, and exhibits focusing on these issues. Tem Blessed and Blessed Energy, a green hiphop group, will kick off the day.
When: Saturday, May 19th, 2018 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Where: MIT Building 34, 50 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA
Details: Event is open to the public (youth and adults) & is FREE! Register early to get the workshop you want.
WORKSHOPS will address food sustainability, public health issues related to air quality and climate change, youth activism, social justice, how youth leaders can continue their sustainability efforts in college, and more. Presenters include Greenovate Boston, 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future, Sunrise Movement, Foundation for A Green Future, The Center for Green Schools, Boston Climate Action Network, Northeastern, and Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to keynote speakers and workshops, the 2018 Summit will also feature more than 30 exhibitors as well as activities such as a photo booth, games, youth-made public service announcements about climate change, games, face painting, an event mural, entertainers with bike a powered sound system, exhibits by the New England Aquarium, and much more. The day will conclude with a youth networking session and lots of door prizes! Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.
9:30 – 10:00 Registration/Check In
10:00 - 11:00 Welcome, Keynote Speaker
11:00 - 12:00 Workshops
12:00 - 1:30 Lunch/Exhibitors/Activities
1:30 – 3:30 – Mayor’s Address, Networking & Next Steps, Door Prizes!
Download Flyer Here
Activists At Work! – Foundation for a Green Future: Join us to brainstorm what speakers, topics, and opportunities to offer at our new program, EcoYouth Leadership Congress that we plan to host this summer as part of Boston GreenFest at Boston City Hall Plaza. We will be collaborating with UN Youth and Project Green Schools. What's on your mind when it comes to the environment and climate change? How can you contribute to help our society change its course?
Organizing and Campaign Strategy – 350 Mass for a Better Future: Meet with leaders of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future and learn how to build people power and how to plan climate and sustainability campaigns that win!
Activism for Sustainability: Youth on the Front Lines of Leadership & Change – Boston Student Advisory Council: Come meet with BSAC leaders and find out what students are doing to promote sustainability in Boston. See part of a youth Ted Talk on sustainability. Find out how you can get involved!
Greenovate Climate Ambassadors - Greenovate Boston, Muge Undemir + Lauren Zingarelli: Come workshop ideas with Greenovate Boston and design your ideal climate action program. Your feedback and ideas will help redesign the current Climate Ready Boston Leaders program to focus more on climate action and social justice.
How Youth Activists Can Get Involved in Food Justice & Why It Matters What and How We Eat – BLS & Northeastern University: How can we empower each other to advocate for a food system that ensures everyone has the right to food produced in a way that respects people and the planet? From food deserts in low-income communities, to food miles, big agra, and hydroponics, we'll map out food systems issues and create a sustainable path towards our roles as students, citizens, community members, and consumers.
Air Quality and the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change – Boston Climate Action Network: Find out from a research scientist from Harvard Medical School and Dana Farber what climate change means for public health. Explore how poor air quality is linked to cancer rates and other related diseases in Boston, the US, and worldwide. Learn what can be done to address these critical issues and how youth have been taking action.
Using the Arc Building Platform in Schools & Engaging Youth Leaders – Boston Public Schools & The USGBC Center for Green Schools: Come find out how you might be able to use the Arc building platform to track sustainability performance in your school. Meet with students who have been piloting Arc this year and find out how it has helped move sustainability goals forward in their school.
Action in Higher Education: The University as a Living Laboratory and the Roles of Students – Harvard School of Public Health: How can we - as individuals and members of communities - leverage our collective strengths to co-create environments that cultivate the planet and its inhabitants’ potential to live and thrive? This workshop will not answer this question. However, taking the case of climate action as an example, the workshop will be an exploration into the ways each of us can affect change and support the work of others along the way. Workshop leader Adam Meier is studying public health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is the sustainability manager for Harvard’s medical, dental, and public health schools, working for Harvard’s Office for Sustainability. He lives on an orchard!
Our Time to Rise: Building Power, Making Change & Winning Elections - Sunrise Movement: Young people have always been at the forefront of change, from the civil rights movement, to the environmental movement, to the movement to end gun violence. Now with climate change threatening our health, our safety and our right to a liveable planet, it’s time for our generation to rise again! In this workshop, you’ll learn how social movements hold the key to building the just, climate-stable future we all deserve. You’ll learn how to organize your community to take collective action, how to launch campaigns, build people power, pass policies and win elections! You'll also learn about Sunrise Movement and how you can take action with us. A better future is within our reach - all we need is your leadership to make it happen. Join us.
Climate Legacy Time Capsule - Day of Dedication
What: Day of Dedication: Climate Legacy Time Capsule
When: Saturday, November 18th, 2017 from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: Boston Common (right across the street from the State House behind the Robert Gould Shaw & the 54th Regiment Memorial)
Details: "At this interactive, inspiring, and family-friendly event, participants will record in a Time Capsule what Bay Staters love and are fighting to protect from climate change. Hold up the people and places most at risk from climate change, and ask Governor Baker to leave a climate legacy we can all be proud of by banning new fossil fuel infrastructure and committing us to a 100% renewable energy future! If he acts, we'll record his legacy as a climate champion in the time capsule. If he fails to act, we'll seal in a record of how he failed our world at a critical moment. We need your help filling up the Time Capsule! Make sure that you or the people you invite bring one of the items below, or you can also collect objects/letters from people you know in advance, and bring them with you to the event on their behalf! Items should have personal meaning to you, or represent something that you love and want to protect in the face of climate change, air and water pollution. Consider bringing a small object that represents... your family or other loved ones, a special activity that could be threatened, a place that could change or be threatened, or anything else meaningful to you. Stones, seeds, cloth, paper, photographs, plastic and metal objects are all ok. If you’re not sure what item to contribute, write a letter to the future. All objects should fit inside your palm (or a 3 inch circle).
GreenBuild Tour & Conference
What: YouthCAN participates in the 2017 United States Green Building Council (USGBC)'s Annual GreenBuild Conference! The conference, held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, and attracts upwards of 25,000 attendees from across the green building sector.
When: November 8-10, 2017
Where: Boston Latin School & the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
Details: YouthCAN students led 48 conference attendees on a tour of Boston Latin School, showing the various sustainability features that YouthCAN has brought to the school over many years. These included the Freight Farm (a re-purposed shipping container fitted with a hydroponic growing system), the Lucid Building Energy Usage Dashboard, the trays of vegetation in the Music Wing well, the Water Bottle Filling Stations, the Raised Bed Gardens, the Sage/Green Wall of Vegetation in the Dining Hall, and the Salad Bar. Later, two YouthCAN students, Addy Krom and Zoe Nagasawa (both Class IV), spoke about piloting the Arc Platform at the actual conference at the Convention Center. They were joined by Katherine Walsh, the Boston Public Schools Sustainability Manager (and BLS alumna), in detailing the successes and challenges faced in implementing the USGBC's Arc Platform in public schools, as well as the inherent advantages of having such a platform to track building metrics.
Arc Platform Piloting
What: Piloting the Arc platform through a series of building audits on sustainability-related metrics such as transportation, waste, and water & energy usage.
When: Various times throughout the 2017-2018 school year
Where: Boston Latin School
Details: During the 2017-2018 school year, the Boston Latin School has been chosen as one of a few select schools in the Boston Public Schools district to pilot the Arc Platform, which is a building metrics monitoring system developed by the US Green Building Council. BLS YouthCAN students took the initiative to conduct a series of audits at the school, which included a school-wide transportation survey to determine greenhouse gas footprints, an audit of generated waste, and an air-quality testing session conducted by a professional from the BPS Facilities Department.
2017 Summit on Climate Change and Sustainability
For our 11th summit, we were honored to have Mariama White Hammond as our keynote speaker. She delivered a powerful message about youth activism and sustainability based on the extensive work she has done in the Boston community inspiring young change-makers. She spoke about the necessity of pursuing social justice as a central element of all sustainability work. The Summit drew around 200-250 students and educators from more than 50 area schools in Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area.
What: 11th Annual Youth Summit on Youth Action and Social Justice
When: Saturday, May 13th, 2017
Where: Stata Center at MIT, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA
2017 Summit Schedule:
9:00 – 10:00 Registration/Check In
10:00 - 11:00 Welcome, Hip Hop with Tem Blessed & Blessed Energy; Mariama White Hammond, Keynote Speaker
11:00 - 12:00 Workshops
12:00 - 1:30 Lunch/Exhibitors/Activities
1:30 – 3:00 Networking, Recognition, & Raffle Prizes!
Climate Impacts on Boston Harbor Islands; Less Resourced Coastal Regions – NEAQ ClimaTeens
Learn how climate change is affecting Boston Harbor specifically the Boston Harbor Islands and Boston’s less resourced coastal regions. The New England Aquarium’s ClimaTeeens will talk through community- based solutions that can help us combat these environmental impacts.
How Youth Activists Can Get Involved in Food Justice - Zoe Fahy, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
How can we empower each other to advocate for a food system that ensures everyone has the right to food produced in a way that respects people and the planet? From deportations of migrant workers to food deserts in low-income communities, we'll map out food systems issues and create an activist's toolkit specific to our roles as students, citizens, community members, and consumers.
Forestry and Climate Change: Maple Syrup, Storm Surge, and Forest Carbon - Laura Green, Co-President, Yale Society of American Foresters
Come learn about some of the current challenges forest managers face with regards to climate change both as an ecological and a social justice issue. This workshop will examine the social and equity dimensions the impacts of climate change on our region's forests, as well as efforts to prevent or redirect those impacts. We will look at maple sugaring and forest-dependent economies, as well as urban forests and ecosystem services, as a way to think about rights, justice, and climate governance. Get connected with
Yale Forestry students to have your questions answered.
Excited About EcoEntrepreneurship! - Karen Weber, Executive Director, Boston Green Fest
This workshop will enable students to have direct input into planning the upcoming International Youth Summit that will take place on Sunday, August 13th at Boston GreenFest and Faneuil Hall in honor of International Youth Day. Over 100 student members of the United Nations from across the globe will be attending the summit with about 100 local Latino youth, 100 Native American youth, and many more local and regional youth (anticipated participation of around 400 youth ages 14-32). We are excited to share the planning directly with youth who are inspired by nature, business, and event planning.
The Shark: A Species We Could Not Live Without - Isabelle Cadene
Find out why every living thing on this planet relies on a healthy ocean. Learn how climate change and the threat of extinction for sharks can affect this, causing both environmental and humanitarian crises. There will be the showing of a short, animated film with follow-up discussion and Q&A.
Getting to a Smarter Grid – Sara Harari, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale School of Management
Have you ever thought about what happens when you turn on a light switch? It’s a bit complicated, and it’s changing, fast! Join us as we explore the electric grid and learn how smart meters, solar panels, and electric vehicles are dramatically changing what happens when you flip that switch.
100% Renewable Energy: Why We Need It & How We Get It - Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellows
Participants will explore the impact of unequal resource distribution; learn about benefits of 100% renewable energy for our health, jobs, and climate; and how we can use our voices to call for the change we need in City and State government.
Climate, Racism + Capitalism - Mike Prokosch, Boston Climate Action Network & Michel LeGendre, Stop Corporate Abuse
In this participatory workshop we'll explore ways that racism, capitalism, and energy-intensive economies have created the climate crisis as well as the denial that is blocking solutions. We'll also discuss what people in Boston are doing about it.
The State Legislature: Protecting Water & Natural Resources – Hannah Traggis, Project Green Schools
On March 21st, 2017, Project Green Schools unified a large group of students at the Massachusetts Water Forum Youth Summit to create a resolution that will be submitted to the Massachusetts State Legislature. In solidarity with the United Nations International Water Day, this resolution seeks to create a Water Awareness Week in perpetuity for the state of Massachusetts. There is much work still to be done in order to successfully submit the bill and see it through to become signed into law. Join us as we invite you to learn about and participate in this historic, student-led, legislative process!
Futuristic Energy and Climate Change - MIT Students
What if we could power our houses with solar-energy, drive our cars with grass, and light our cities with nuclear fusion? Come hear about some of the cooler innovations in energy, many of them happening right here at MIT. We'll talk about what the future might hold, and how new technologies can change what's available now.
Want to learn even more about what we've done in the past? Check the YouthCAN archive!