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.

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.