I was lucky growing up to have lots of exposure to and encouragement from professional communicators. Two were especially influential. My dad started his career as a Madison Avenue copywriter and became an account exec. One of his best friends was editor of the local paper (who later became the inspiration for this famous comic strip). Words mattered to them and they passed that on to me. In high school, Shu made me co-editor of the paper's school page. Those early experiences created the foundation for my long career. It also taught me how important it is to interact with the next generation.

Climate communication skills for young people

So I was pleased to be invited to participate in an edcamp for middle and high school communicators sponsored by my local PBS station. The fact that the theme was climate change and human health made it even better. Talk about my wheelhouse!

Students spent the day exploring four topic areas chosen by consensus earlier in the day. They discussed the issues and came up with a set of actions we can take to make progress on them.

The final activity of the day featured roundtable discussions and deep dives with experts from different communication platforms:

  • Animation
  • Photography
  • Podcasting
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Writing & Advocacy

The goal of these sessions was to inspire, inform and empower them to share their climate action plans on a particular medium. I was the writing and advocacy expert!

It was gratifying talking to passionate young people who want to share their views and present information to the world. Several of them asked if we could stay in touch and of course I said yes. It's what Dad and Shu would want me to do.

Tools for young journalists and advocates

If you've got a young person in your life, click here to download my toolkit for youth climate communicators (hint: it works for us olds, too!). And if you're planning a scholastic journalism or communication event, let's talk about how I can help!

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