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The Rio+20 Earth Summit and Youth

Originally appears in the Spring 2012 issue

There is a milestone coming up in the global environmental arena: the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. This event will see world leaders and environmental activists reconvening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, for the 20th anniversary of the first UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit.

This event is a great opportunity for teachers to inform their students about global environmental policy in a way that will resonate. Youth networks around the world have taken on the task of getting involved in global environmental policy events like Rio+20 to make their voices heard, and even better, spread the message of what’s going on to the younger generation by expressing it in a way that youth can relate to.

There are many opportunities to get your students involved in the action and issues of the Rio+20 Earth Summit. You will find below some activities that can be implemented in your classroom, including ways that you can connect your students with delegates on the ground in Rio de Janeiro. The activities are geared for secondary level, but could be adapted for elementary students.

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Deanna Del Vecchio is the Manager of the Tread Lightly environmental education program at TakingITGlobal in Toronto. She teaches a professional development e-course called “Education for Environmental Stewardship” (