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Cottage Lane 5th Graders Discuss Climate Change With U.N. Leader

Cottage Lane 5th graders share their ideas on mitigating climate change with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Cottage Lane 5th graders share their ideas on mitigating climate change with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Photo Credit: BJ Greco/South Orangetown Central School District
Cottage Lane 5th graders share their ideas on mitigating climate change with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Cottage Lane 5th graders share their ideas on mitigating climate change with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Photo Credit: BJ Greco/South Orangetown Central School District

BLAUVELT, N.Y. -- Cottage Lane School's fifth-graders recently met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Selwin Hart, director of the secretary-general’s Climate Change Support Team on a trip to the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The students attended a meeting to discuss the role children can play in slowing down climate change.

“I’m inspired that someone so important would want to talk to a group of kids," said student Julia McKenna. "I’m glad he understands that this is our future we’re talking about. It’s really important to us!”

Kottie Christie-Blick and Claudia Arietta’s classes wrote a letter tothe secretary-general in December 2015 as part of their science work on climate change. Their work included research, hands-on demonstrations and a visit from paleoclimatologist Paul Olsen from Columbia University.

The students wrote the secretary-general following the Paris Climate Agreement in the fall to congratulate him and request a discussion of their ideas.

During their 30 minute meeting, the secretary-general thanked the students for their letter and emphasized the significance of decelerating climate change. The fifth-graders shared their ideas about what kids can do to help, and emphasized that they love to talk and can do so with peers and adults about reducing their carbon footprint.

“We raised our voices and were heard by secretary-general and Mr. Hart," said fifth-grader Cole Massaro. "Now they know that kids are part of the solution. Now we kids know that we matter. We have power too.”

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