South Orangetown Central School District

“There is a directive regarding climate change refugees…”

This week, in Room 424, Tappan Zee High School Model U.N. Club and Environmental Club members spent two afternoons engaged in an International Climate Crisis Committee. The overall goal of the simulated global summit on climate change was to reduce carbon emissions to keep global heating by 2100 below two degrees Celsius. Model U.N. club members were assigned roles and represented U.N. Security Council members, China, Russia, countries with rising economies, OPEC members, industry and environmental organizations as they vigorously debated how to limit carbon issues while protecting their own economic interests.

The event was a first for the Model U.N. Club. “I saw this as a valuable opportunity to collaborate,” explains club Co-President Jacob G. “The Environmental Club members served as scientific advisors and laid out an in-depth background guide. This is something that we need to be discussing. It brings awareness to this complex issue and the extent of international collaboration that will be required to institute reforms.”

Although this is the Environmental Club’s inaugural year at Tappan Zee High School, it has already taken action to push a school-wide recycling initiative. “We’re just getting started and were happy for this opportunity to collaborate by coming to the Model U.N. Club to discuss how nations are being impacted by climate change,” said club Secretary Sophia P. “This is very much a real world issue for us and seeing it play out in a global setting is powerful.”

“When the club officers came to me with this idea, I thought it was brilliant,” said Model UN Advisor and Social Studies teacher Martin Patmos. “This is such a critical topic, and collectively the students handled the issues with compassion and creativity. I’m really impressed with the them and the range of ideas they expressed in their debates.”

Each January, TZHS’ Model UN Club sends a team to participate, along with peers from six continents, in the Columbia Model United National Conference and Exposition.

Model UN members debate on climate crisis