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'Youth is to be the leading force in combatting climate change' meant experts and NGO representatives at Russian-American seminar

Green Energy Against Climate Change youth seminar was organized as part of the Youth as the Driving Force in Promotion of Climate Change Solutions in cooperation with networks of American educational programs alumni and supported by the US Consulate General in St.Petersburg.

At the seminar Vladimir Randjelovic, an expert from AECOM, and American construction company, made a presentation about the use of environmentally friendly technologies in the US and about energy efficiency measures undertaken by the company in their projects implemented in Russia. Although all AECOM's Russia-based projects are still under development, the expert is already forecasting a great future for them due to Russia's huge energy saving potential that is estimated to be as large as 40% which makes the country a perfect ground for energy saving technologies implementation. As Randjelovic mentioned, "the dollar saved is the dollar earned". Furthermore, energy efficient constructions are more profitable as they are cheaper to run and thus creates long-term benefits. Presented were the experience and evaluation of implementation potential of the newest renewable energy sources that have both positive economical and environmental effect by replacing fossils.

AECOM's expert's view was supported by Dag Arne Hoystad of the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation who joined the seminar via skype-conference. NSNC promotes energy efficient solutions for the building and construction sector under the motto "Energy efficiency is Norway's biggest power station". They mean that every person acts as their own energy manager by making certain decisions that influence energy consumption in our households, offices and generally in our daily lives.

Alumni of American educational programs (such as Open World, IREX, Environmental Education and Community Connection) who are now leaders of NGOs in Russia (i.e. Friends of the Baltic, TEIA, CEI and OSEKO) delivered their speaches at the seminar. They told about their experience and approaches to public education and information work, about NGO involvement in promotion of sustainable solutions for climate and energy as well as about the role of youth in diverse programs and projects focused on sustainable energy.

The seminar was organized parallel to the international seminar that Friends of the Baltic held under the auspices on the Nordic Council of Ministers. The other seminar was dedicated to sharing the experience of environmental education among NGOs and to the promotion of international and intersectoral cooperation. Many participants of the international seminar, among whom NGO workers and educators, took part in the discussion on climate and energy and youth involvement.

Students of the St.Petersburg State University, Hydrometeorological University, IFMO University, who are FLEX and Fulbright alumni, took an active part in the seminar.

According to Hillary Clinton, the USA Secretary of State, those who are 18 to 25 years old now are the ones who will solve the climate change issue. Russian youth is already active in this field, i.e. by taking part in SPARE project (a school project dedicated to education and practical solutions concerning climate and energy) and in Russian Socio-Ecological Union's climate program. The Climate Secretariat of RSEU is currently expanding its youth network.

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