Youth Roundtable on the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC)

Erica Riray

On April 24, 2021, the Berggruen Institute held its first Youth Roundtable on the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) led by the Institute’s Future of Democracy Program and Berggruen Fellow Gabriel Kahan of Sense LA. Using Kahan’s creative assembly methodology, the roundtable engaged eighteen local participants between the ages of 18 to 26 to reflect on the values and priorities that should drive the CCC. The event aimed to showcase and model how governments can engage youth in developing climate corps programs while gaining actionable insight on the types of programming that youth would like to see in the CCC.

Beginning with introductions and group discussion, participants shared issues of personal concerns and discussed the connectedness of their individual experiences. They subsequently declared “environmental justice” as the key term that described the relationship between their concerns and the climate crisis and should thus be foregrounded in conversations regarding the CCC.

Additionally, participants decided through discussion that the following six equally weighted factors surrounding environmental justice should be centered in the design and implementation of the CCC: 1) capitalism; 2) white supremacy; 3) Indigenous sovereignty; 4) community activism; 5) patriarchy; and 6) consumerism.

Participants then split into six groups to focus on one of the six key terms listed above. Each group created a system map using PREPARE methodology, a peer-evaluation process developed by Kahan and MIT professor Alexander Slocum, that mapped the symptoms of cause-and-effect for each concept. Following this exercise, participants created three-dimensional sculptural objects to visualize their key terms. Each of the six sculptures was affixed to a sculptural cube in the center of the space, representing both a “collective brain” and the material outcome of collaborative thought and deliberation.

Following eight hours of discussion and creative activities, three key recommendations emanated as collective priorities for the CCC:

1. An Intersectional, Environmental Justice Approach

2. Community Leadership and Co-Creation

3. A Living Wage and Pathways to Employment for Corps Members

The Future of Democracy Program released a report detailing the contributions of the participants and the policy recommendations from the event.

Please click here to view the report.

This event was part of the Future of Democracy’s Youth Environment Service, a campaign to build broad-based commitments from governments to invest in jobs, national service, and other opportunities for young people to work together, acquire skills and training, and build common purpose and solidarity in protecting their communities from climate change.