Nation's Top Two Youth Climate Leaders Join Senator Ed Markey & Tom Steyer Today for Virtual Summit to discuss "Democracy, Climate & the Youth Vote"

Urgent pleas for climate action from 18-year-old Xiye Bastida and 15-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor have already reached millions of people through speeches at the Global Citizen Festival, the Democratic National Convention and a TED talk. Their dialogue with NextGen America's Steyer and Senate Climate Task Force Chair Markey is being released online today, October 22, at 5pm Eastern Time as part of the new AREDAY2020 Virtual Summit Dialogue Series. Eight other programs are also available for free public viewing any time at

Aspen, CO, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Former presidential candidate Tom Steyer and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey join the nation’s top two climate youth leaders, Xiye Bastida and Alexandria Villaseñor, today in a dynamic, intergenerational dialogue on the importance of immediately moving to a clean, renewable energy economy and getting out the youth vote for the upcoming Presidential election. The conversation, titled “Democracy, Climate and the Youth Vote,” will be released publicly today, October 22, at 5pm EDT, on and available any time after that online. It focuses around Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s climate plan and the need to mobilize the youth vote as well as the women’s vote in the presidential election November 3.

The dialogue is part of the AREDAY2020 Virtual Summit, a dialogue series launched this month by the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) and its AREDAY (American Renewable Energy Day) program.  The series features different national leaders each week on topics ranging from democracy and the vote to climate finance solutions, social justice, the oceans and the climate crisis. The series will be promoted through AREDAY’s partnership with EarthxTV.

Chip Comins, Chairman and CEO of AREI, says, “Our house is on fire, and the youth are speaking out. They will have to deal with the impacts. This is the ultimate tragedy, and it’s not changing until we end our dependence on fossil fuels.” 

Xiye Bastida is one of the most dynamic of these youth leaders. At last year’s Global Citizen Festival in New York City, where she was introduced by Leonardo DiCaprio, she said, “Change is coming, whether the establishment is ready for it or not.  Together, we can build a 100% renewable world.” On Sept 21, 2020, Xiye released her first TED Talk, which has already received over 800,000 views.

The second of the nation’s top youth activist’s duo is Alexandria Villaseñor. Speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, viewed by 122 million people over four nights, she said, “Climate change is impacting us now, and it’s robbing my generation of our future. For young people my age, every aspect of our lives — from where we go to school, to what kind of careers we will have, to whether or not we can have a family — depends on us taking action now.”

Tom Steyer has made a $45 million commitment to motivating youth to vote through his new progressive nonprofit, NextGen America. “Climate is a top issue for young people,” says Steyer.  “We’re seeing a dramatic record-breaking turn out of young voters. In addition, we’re seeing a spread of Democratic and Republican support that’s a multiple of what it was four years ago,” he continues. “Forty percent of all potential voters are 18-34 and they vote at half the rate of other American citizens.”

Senator Ed Markey’s success in the Democratic primary was fueled by youth leaders. “They are not afraid to raise their voices, demand accountability and to fight for justice,” he says, adding, “In the face of government inaction, young people are…fueling a movement to demand radical change. [This] will make the difference at the ballot box.”


In their dialogue, the four leaders discuss the strength of Biden's climate plan and what solving the climate crisis means for economic and pandemic recovery. The solution, they say, comes down to multiple actions--drawing down and capturing carbon and keeping greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. By fast-tracking the implementation of climate solutions, including shutting off global fossil fuel emissions, we will not only avoid the most catastrophic impacts, but also will put tens of millions of people to work.  The complete one-hour dialogue will be released to the public to watch today, October 22, at 5pm Eastern Time, at AREDAY or any time online after that.


The discussion with these four climate leaders is the 8th of 9 segments in this fall’s AREDAY2020 Virtual Summit, a dialogue series on "Democracy and the Vote,” launched Oct 1. The public can access a schedule, descriptions and the talks by registering at  New programs are released and available every Thursday at 5pm Eastern Time. 



Eighteen-year-old Xiye Bastida, a New York City resident born in Mexico and raised as part of the Otomi-Toltec Indigenous Peoples, is a freshman at New York’s Penn.  She is co-host with Jane Fonda of the Countdown Global Launch. In 2019, she graced the Global Citizen stage in NYC’s Central Park with Leonardo DiCaprio along with global youth climate movement founder, Greta Thunberg of Norway. It was broadcast on MSNBC. She is a leading organizer of the Fridays For Future Youth Climate Strike Movement and co-founded Re-Earth Initiative on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  She has spoken at the United Nations Climate Summit, COP25 and Earth X, and she received the “Spirit of the UN” award in 2018.


At age 13, Alexandria Villaseñor co-founded the Fridays For Future Youth Climate Strike movement in the U.S. Now, at the age of 15 as a freshman in high school, Alexandria has become an internationally-recognized environmental activist, public speaker, author and founder of several more initiatives. She has addressed the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. She is a contributing author to All We Can Save, an anthology of women climate leaders. She has received the Earth Day Network Youth Leadership Award, The Rachel Carson Environmental Justice Award, the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival “Disruptor” award, the Common Good American Spirit Change-Maker award and was included on Politico’s list of the top 100 people influential on climate change policy.


Tom Steyer, who left his successful investing business to give his own money, time, and energy to fighting for progressive causes, has become one of the country’s leading forces in registering more young voters and voters of color, fighting climate change and working for racial justice. He has initiated a number of people-first, grassroots campaigns that have repeatedly defeated powerful special interests. He is the founder of NextGen America and was a 2020 Presidential Candidate. He also co-chairs Biden’s Unity Task Force combating the climate crisis and pursuing environmental justice.

Senator Ed Markey has served in Congress for 44 years, with 37 of those in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a national leader on climate, clean energy and the environment. He serves as Chair of the Senate Climate Task Force and on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Small Business Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. Since January, Senator Markey has led efforts in the Senate calling for protections of frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. He co-authored the Green New Deal with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.            


About AREDAY – The AREDAY SUMMIT is a program of the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI). It has taken place annually in Aspen or Snowmass, CO since 2004. The agenda includes a multi-day speaker series and IMPACT FILM.  AREDAY offers attendees the opportunity to engage with clean energy world leaders from the public and private sectors, including the fields of finance, politics, solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and leading-edge energy technologies. Participants have included President Jimmy Carter, the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Iceland.  More information at 970-930-8002 or          


About AREI – The American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) is a registered 501(c)(3) organization based in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley.  Focused on fostering actionable solutions around climate change, its programs emphasize the “Five E’s – Energy, Environment, Economy, Education and Equality.”



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