Young Global Leadership Needed to Combat Threat of Climate Change

By Adam Shlomi, 2019 Luce 24 Under 24 Award Recipient

Washington, D.C. As the world begins to face the realities of climate change, which is a global threat to our way of life, we must look to global leadership for solutions at the international and grassroots levels.

Already we are seeing the effects of years of pollution: Floods in India, droughts in Syria, and rising sea levels that threaten to put Miami, my hometown, underwater. Moreso, these environmental challenges can not be shouldered by one country because pollution will never be contained by a border. The acid runoff from sulfur factories in China’s Shanxi province is already destroying ecosystems across the sea in nearby Japan.

Indian volunteers and rescue personal evacuate local residents in a boat in a residential area at Aluva in Ernakulam district, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 17, 2018. - The death toll from floods that have triggered landslides and sent torrents sweeping through villages in the Indian state of Kerala trebled on August 17 to 324, authorities said, amid warnings of worse weather to come. (Photo by - / AFP)Already we are seeing the effects of years of pollution such as floods in India.

Climate change is inherently a global problem and these countries must cooperate to find long term solutions. Lastly, visionary approaches to addressing climate change will come from today’s youth.

The world’s foremost leaders have already gathered to tackle this problem, but because of a lack of political will-power and short sightedness, they have been unable to agree to a deal that has global buy-in and is comprehensive enough to limit environmental charge. With a new set of values, the youth leaders of today appreciate how critical it is to live in a world with clean air and water, so they will treat environmental degradation with the attention it needs. 

32688946545_9320268823_bRising sea levels threaten to put my hometown, Miami, Florida, underwater. 

Addressing climate change forces us to confront difficult questions: how can we reduce our consumption or grow the economy when hampered by environmental regulations? These fears can be assuaged by taking a global scope and identifying countries that are already working hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The lessons of countries that are successfully recycling and composting can be models for the rest of the world as seek a more sustainable future. 

In the summer of 2018 I lived in Tainan, Taiwan for two months and learned that Taiwan has developed the most advanced recycling system on earth. Taiwan, a tiny resource-challenged Island that is isolated on the world stage recycles more than 55% of all consumed goods, the highest recycling rate in the world. Taiwan has created a government fund that finances the recycling of food waste, plastic, metal, glass, and paper in order to eliminate as much waste as possible. 

Rocks_on_Shamokin_CreekAcid runoff from sulfur factories are destroying ecosystems around the world.

The success of Taiwan as a global leader in the green movement was unexpected. In the 90’s Taiwan was dubbed ‘garbage island’ and Island’s landfills were dangerously full. Taiwan solved a waste crisis because they had no other choice. Similar environmental challenges are appearing across the world, and countries must address the issues with the same urgency as Taiwan once did. Taiwan can act as a leader in recycling technology and environmental public policy in order to help the rest of the world make the transition to sustainable living.

1_28xIlSf2gT7DD-EC6KoYlAI witnessed how Taiwan has become a global leader in the green movement.

The transition to a sustainable future will bring a systematic change to our civilization, and history has shown this type of fundamental change comes from the youth taking political action to shape the world around their ideals. Already polling shows younger Americans are significantly more concerned with climate change then previous generations as a 2018 Gallup poll shows 70% of Americans ages 18 to 34 are seriously concerned with climate change, nearly 20 base points higher than Americans 55 years and older. The people who are most likely to stop climate change are the youth of today who have the urgency and energy to act on their ideals. 

As I start my career, I have looked to firmly connect my work to my values. When I am in a position to make a positive change for the environment, I believe I have an obligation to do the right thing and protect our earth. In late 2018, I founded my second business, SoFlo SAT Tutoring, an online college prep tutoring company that is motivated by more than profit. Through hard work, and some luck, we have grown to have 10 tutors on staff and more than 400 students in our system. 

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Once the company became profitable one of the first decisions I made was to go carbon neutral. I was going to reduce our bottom line and spend that money protecting the environment, because I believe in acting with the public benefit in mind. I partnered with a few friends of mine who founded LiveGreen, an innovative app for tracking carbon footprints that helps users understand their impact on the environment. We track miles driven and pages printed to calculate our environmental impact and pay for trees to be planted to offset our emissions. 

As a founder, I was in a position to live my values and create a company that has proven it can be financially successful and climate positive, while at the same time I was able to help my friends grow their company which has the potential to have an immense positive impact on the climate. Creating a company and then redirecting those profits to offsetting carbon emissions through reforesting is one example of how the youth of today will use leadership platforms to create a sustainable future. 

In the future, as my career continues to grow so will my platform for change. As a global youth leader I have the opportunity to foster connections across borders that will help us solve global problems. In the future I hope to promote public interest corporations that are both sustainable and profitable as the best option for maintaining our current economic well being while protecting our environment. I’m excited about my future and a career dedicated in service to others. 

Adam Shlomi

Adam Shlomi
Adam, originally from Israel, raised in Florida, is in a position to make a positive change for the environment. He started a company which was not only proven to be financially successful but also climate-positive by offsetting carbon emissions. Being a global youth leader, Adam is also passionate about connecting people across borders to solve global problems. Adam is a Global Business Major at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He speaks English, Hebrew and studies Mandarin Chinese.

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Ticket Reservations
Ticket(s) in advance are available at $48 each, tax-deductible and may be paid online via: http://tiny.cc/SummerSoiree2019 (or TEXT “Luce24” to 91999). Checks payable to The J. Luce Foundation may be sent to 540 Main St. #418, New York, N.Y. 10044. If you are unable to attend, please consider donating a ticket to sponsor one of our Young Global Leaders.

About The J. Luce Foundation
The Mission of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, Inc. (www.LuceFoundation.org) is to support young global leadership impacting positive social change, particularly in the fields of the Arts, Education and Orphan Care. Related charities include Orphans International Worldwide (OIW) and The New York Global Leaders Lions Club, both founded by Jim Luce, born July 24, 1959. 

See:
 July 24th, J. Luce Foundations 20th Annual Summer Soirée (7/19)
‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Summer Soirée Set for July 24 at the China Institute (6/19)
J. Luce Foundation Announces First ‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Awards (5/19)
J. Luce Leadership Team Lauded by Forbes, Gates, Ford Foundation (9/18) 

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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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