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Youth summit spreads word about climate change


On a recent Sunday afternoon, Bucks County youth held a forum to educate and inform the public of the dramatic impact of climate change and how waste from many sources is contributing to the planet’s woes.

Titled, “Everything Eco: An Inconvenient Summit,” and organized by BSCAPE (Bucks Students for Climate Action and Protection of the Environment), teens outlined a wide range of issues, ranging from animal agriculture’s impact on the environment to fast fashion.

Lily Mandel, 17, and Ryan Rockelmann, 16, both students at Central Bucks High School South, said the billions of pigs, cows and chickens around the world used for food create a staggering amount of methane gas and animal waste.

“Five hundred million tons of manure is produced every year,” Rockelmann told the audience of about two dozen people. That all translates into methane gas, he added, as well as “staggering amounts” of waste that is dispersed into the planet’s waterways.

Both teens stressed the need for people to turn their diet toward a plant-based one. “Your diet can also influence others” to eat differently, said Mandel, adding, “It’s not as hard as you think” to become vegan. An information table on veganism was included at the gathering, as was a table for people to register to vote.

Ten-year-old Emma Lofts, a student at Doyle Elementary School in Doylestown Borough, shared information on “Everyday Items that Harm the Planet.” Wet wipes, which have a very long shelf life, are harmful to the environment, said Emma, as are chopsticks. “About 8.3 million trees are chopped down for chopsticks,” she said. “Plastic bags take 400 to 1,000 years to breakdown and contaminate the soils and harm animals,” the student noted.

The summit also addressed the complex relationships between environmental justice, indigenous peoples and climate change.

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