Students from 21 Countries Design Innovative Solutions to Combat Climate Change in Fiji

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MENTOR, Ohio - eTradeWire -- The Global Youth Climate Summit connected students from 21 countries and 18 US states to design innovative solutions to address climate change in Fiji. The group consisted of 92 students whose ages ranged from 12-18 years old. One-third of the students were awarded scholarships by Rustic Pathways to attend the event.

The Global Youth Climate Summit, hosted by Rustic Pathways in partnership with Stanford University's Center for Deliberative Democracy and Rustic Pathways Foundation, was a two-week design sprint challenge.

Rustic Pathways local team in Fiji led sessions to define problems the islands are having as a result of climate change. With a chance to see and understand the real Fiji, students dove into action.

Students worked in pods to address issues of access to clean water, rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion, coastal erosion, and extreme weather conditions.

The Rustic Pathways Fiji team was incredibly impressed with the ideas and gave direct feedback to the students after each presentation. Leba says these outside perspectives are really something to be considered. Being so close to the problem for so long, locals sometimes have trouble seeing new options that can work.

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Fiji Program Leader Viliame Tui says he feels, in a way, safe knowing these young leaders are taking a stand.

"People across the world are fighting for this cause with us. They are raising awareness and talking about issues we face in the Fiji islands," Tui said.

Kate Ragatz, who is from Woodside, California, worked on a solution to provide a sustainable energy source through hydropower while also supplying clean drinking water. Her team will work to bring their solution to life by using Wavepiston, a wave energy system.

"Our next steps are to get in touch with the Wavepiston company, find a village or area to implement our idea, contact them, and then hopefully work on executing our Wavepiston plan," Ragatz said.

16-year-old Julieta Melgar from San Salvador says she wanted to join the program after coming to the realization that she saw social and environmental issues as something completely normal in her country of El Salvador. After the conclusion of the summit, she feels empowered and hopeful.

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"It was mind-blowing to see how so many young people like me are willing to come together and act for the future of our world," said Melgar.

Mahmoud Mogawer from Cairo, Egypt shares these feelings of hopefulness and optimism for the future. Along with these feelings, also comes some sadness of the program coming to an end.

"I was surprised by the interest in all of us as students about the topic discussed and the ability to work together even when time, language, nation and belief divided us," Mahmoud said.

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Source: Rustic Pathways
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