Communication & Youth Mobilization

Marquee Theater
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.  |  Breakout Session 1A

Youth activists, journalists, scientists, and other communicators are playing a major role in bringing the climate crisis to the forefront of policy discussions. This panel discussed climate communication strategies and their role in tackling the climate crisis.

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Key Takeaways

  • Government and policymakers can gate-keep information. Direct communication is necessary between decision-makers and impacted communities. These communities need to feel represented and their climate-related struggles addressed. 
  • Climate change is a complex and global problem that impacts communities in different ways — accessible  information and storytelling are key for effective communication with all communities and with youth. This is especially important when addressing equity issues. 
  • While conferences can lead to large pledges and proposed action on climate change, oftentimes, there is no follow-up action or concrete policy and little tangible progress — effective communication and credible action must ensue. 
  • Grassroots activists, BIPOC, and impacted community members need an official seat at the table. Their experiences and ideas are needed for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive fight against climate change.


Benji Backer

Credentials: Panelist, Climate Communication & Youth Mobilization

Position title: President & Founder, American Conservation Coalition

Benji Backer launched the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) in July 2017. ACC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to market-based environmental reforms. Through ACC, Backer helps unite Americans on pro-environmental reforms and change the narrative when it comes to the environment. He has been…

Nada Elmikashfi

Credentials: Panelist, Climate Communication & Youth Mobilization

Position title: Chief of Staff, Wisconsin State Representative Francesca Hong

Nada Elmikashfi joined Rep. Hong’s staff in November 2020. She previously ran as a candidate for Wisconsin Senate and served on the Sustainable Madison Commission. She serves as chair of the Young Democrats of Wisconsin, 2nd Congressional District. She is writing…

James Mills

Credentials: Moderator, Climate Communication & Youth Mobilization

Position title: Course Instructor, University of Wisconsin/Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

James Edward Mills has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer. He is the author of the book The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors and the…

Stephanie Salgado

Credentials: Panelist, Climate Communication & Youth Mobilization

Position title: Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stephanie Janeth Salgado Altamirano, who five years ago moved to Madison from Honduras with her family, is a junior majoring in political science and environmental studies. In 2019, she was appointed to the state’s Climate Change Task Force, which advises Gov. Tony Evers…