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Aspen nonprofit seeks funds for climate change interns – Aspen Daily News

The Global Warming Mitigation Project, an Aspen nonprofit, says it has launched an end-of-year fundraising campaign to support “future climate leaders.”

Through its Constellations program, the nonprofit connects students to virtual internships with applicants, finalists and laureates of the Keeling Curve Prize, which awards funds annually for projects designed to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

Constellations allows students “to obtain hands-on experience implementing climate solutions while providing much-needed support to international organizations and companies that have been recognized for their innovative approaches to mitigating the climate crisis,” the nonprofit’s website explains. The program invites young engineers, graphic designers, researchers, climate scientists and advocates to “protect their future while building their careers.”

GWMP so far has raised $3,480 toward its $50,000 goal to compensate interns in 2022. More information about the campaign can be found at tinyurl.com/constellationinterns.

“Funding for the Constellations program will allow youth from diverse backgrounds to gain valuable experience contributing to a broad array of climate solutions, while directly benefiting projects and programs that are effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the nonprofit’s website states.

The nonprofit’s executive director, Jacque Francis, who recently returned from the U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow known as COP26, has recognized the need to support those who are doing “the critical work of reducing our emissions,” an email announcement from the nonprofit reads.

COP26, held in the first two weeks of November, had a strong presence from young people, and the organization wants to focus on fostering the professional development of young leaders who are active in the climate-change arena, according to the email.

Francis said last week that one takeaway from the conference was the “strong desire” among delegates and experts to seek meaningful solutions to the climate change problem.

“It doesn’t necessarily translate into fixing everything, but the desire is there,” she said.

At COP26, representatives of the U.S. and China generally agreed to work together on climate change.

“The devil is always in the details,” Francis said. “I don’t know what’s going to come of it, but the fact that there was an agreement that there will be a global effort between the U.S. and China is meaningful.”

Francis suggested that government officials — in the U.S., elected officials — won’t move forward on meaningful initiatives to address climate change unless their constituents demand it.

“It takes all of society to really want something to happen in order to make it happen,” she said.

As for the fundraising campaign, Francis said it’s hoped that the internships supported by GWMP will grow into paid fellowships.

She said that aside from the Keeling Curve Prize award of $25,000 each to 10 organizations annually, the nonprofit tries to assist the groups within its network in other ways, such as promotional support and the internships through the Connections program.

“The interns can really help these organizations to ‘up their game,’” Francis added.

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