Young people are stepping into leadership roles in the climate restoration movement. Earth911 talks with Ashley Meeky, the first youth ambassador on the board of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, a nonprofit working to encourage global support for the development and deployment of carbon capture and sequestration technology. A student at Vanderbilt University, Ashley got involved with the organization in 2019 and participated in creating its 12-week leadership program that trains youth to speak and raise awareness about climate change and the 50 trillion tons of CO2 humanity has already put in the atmosphere. It’s this existing excess that carbon capture technology can remove as we reduce CO2 emissions to zero over the next several decades.
The foundation argues that we can return the Earth’s climate to what our grandparents knew later this century, but without carbon capture technology it may take centuries to remove. The technology produces CO2 that can be used to make concrete, fuels, and industrial materials including plastic and carbon fiber.
Ashley shares her experiences with the Foundation for Climate Restoration and how she is shaping her goals for adulthood based on the realities of global warming. A young entrepreneur who runs a haircare business and her own Instagram accounts, Ashley believes that business must play a leading role in the end of the fossil fuel era and the prolonged cleanup the planet needs. And she explains her own daily steps to reduce her carbon footprint.
The foundation and Ashley will be involved in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, this November with hopes of getting global support for carbon capture technology, which is already operational at ClimeWorks and Blue Planet, among other companies. She argues that the necessary efforts to reforest large parts of the planet and use ocean carbon sequestration strategies must be augmented with an aggressive carbon capture program to reverse, not just stop climate change.