What We Do

What We Do

Climate change is the biggest threat affecting our collective futures. Yet when young people transition from high school into the world, their achievements in the environmental field are largely unrecognized. The Youth Climate Institute supports students as they build their resumes and skills at a pivotal time for their college and career goals. Along the way, YCI is forming a cadre of science-literate ambassadors prepared to make an impact on the climate crisis ahead of us all.

In this program students can achieve two certification levels – Certified Ambassadors© and Certified Ambassadors with Honors©. Program components include seminars on climate science, impacts and solutions, along with community action projects. Students can complete a capstone project in their second year to receive Certified Ambassadors with Honors© status. Through their community projects, students identify and initiate actions that lessen the effects of climate change on human health, biodiversity and the economy.


In the first year of YCI, students spend a semester studying climate change science, impacts, solutions and communication strategies through seminars. Seminar packages are available to chapter leaders and contain resources such as videos, articles, activities, leading discussion questions.

Action Projects

YCI students apply their knowledge and passion to take action through action team projects. Chapters identify, plan and implement a solution to a local climate change issue. Student voices lead the direction of the project. Local chapters have taken on a diverse array of projects including tree planting, an “Urgency” art contests, fast fashion clothing swaps and more.


After students complete their first year of YCI, students rise to become Certified Ambassadors©. These YCI student leaders can choose to complete an optional second year with a self-guided capstone project. Students work with a local mentor to tackle a climate issue of their choice.

Get Certified

In this one year program, students will enter as Ambassadors and progress to Certified Ambassadors©. Students then have the option of continuing beyond the first year by completing a climate capstone project and earning Certified Ambassadors with Honors©. The goal of this program is to educate and empower students to create awareness and understanding of global climate change. They will identify and initiate action in their communities to lessen the adverse effects of climate change on human health, biodiversity and the economy.