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Youth and the Clean Energy Economy - A Perspective From Youth Working in the Obama Administration

Young Department of Interior employees look back at the forum on youth and the clean energy economy.

Ed. Note: Read another take, including photos, courtesy of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Earlier this week, we attended the Clean Energy Economy Forum with over 120 youth leaders at the White House. It kicked off with a great opening session including Secretaries Salazar, Solis and Chu as well as Administrator Jackson and Nancy Sutley of CEQ:


We want to thank everyone who attended or followed along online – it was a great event! We were fired up by the stories we heard of young people making their voices heard on climate change and clean energy legislation in the Senate.  We met young people leading energy retrofit projects, building the environmental justice movement, and educating friends and family about green job opportunities. Together, we're changing the world, and we know everybody could sense that in the Facebook breakout session hosted by Greg Nelson of the White House's Office of Public Engagement and Christine Glunz of CEQ:


In our many months in our traveling around the country last year, we were always inspired by our friends, classmates, and fellow young people making a difference. We now have the opportunity to work for a great boss, Secretary Ken Salazar, who recognizes that young people aren't just our future, they're our present.  He is always encouraging us to shoot for the moon and have fun in the process.  Like so many others in the Administration, he has empowered young appointees to take responsibility for their country and their planet. 

This Administration believes that young people can help our nation achieve energy independence, and here at the Department of Interior we work on one direct path: by standing up renewable energy on our public lands. Young people can help our plant and wildlife species adapt and persist in the face of climate change. Young people from all walks of life can help preserve our natural and cultural resources by taking a summer job in a national park, a wildlife refuge, or on one of our other public lands. Together, we can make a difference, that was one thing everybody agreed on during the closing session after the breakouts:


But we need young people to stay engaged in this Administration so we can deliver the change we all want.  Here are a few easy ways you can stay connected to the Green Cabinet that we wanted to share:

You can follow Interior Secretary Salazar, Energy Secretary Chu, Labor Secretary Solis, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Facebook. Or you can catch up with the Department of the Interior, Department of Labor or EPA on Twitter. 

Thanks again. We're all counting on the youth.

Nate Hundt and Jonathan Jourdane are recent college graduates and work on youth programs at the Department of Interior. Nate Hundt works in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs and Jonathan Jourdane works in the Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs.