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YEPI Sustainability Summit

February 13, 2021 @ 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Youth Environmental Power Initiative hosted the YEPI Sustainability Summit, one of the biggest virtual environmental conferences in the community. We invited various environmental leaders to speak about a diverse range of sustainability topics: environmental policies; alternative transportation; composting; the science, threats, and solutions to climate change; environmental justice; renewable energy; student advocacy; and making change. This summit empowered students to find climate change solutions and develop ideas for influential climate policies. It also provided students with the knowledge and skills they needed to create, design, and implement new environmental projects to save our planet. Participants were better equipped with the skills necessary to become green leaders and the summit inspired them to further their climate advocacy and knowledge within the climate sphere.

Sustainability Speakers

Darcy Paul

Mayor of the City of Cupertino

Mayor Paul graduated from Harvard College, completing his pre-medical studies with a degree in Biology, magna cum laude with the highest honors in the field. At Harvard, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Undergraduate Sciences. Following college, he decided to pursue a career in the field of law following a year of conducting cancer research and teaching medical school admissions test classes to economically underprivileged and under-represented minorities in medicine. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mayor Paul was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology in his 3L year. Prior to being elected to the Cupertino City Council, Mayor Paul served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce in 2014. On Council, Paul’s focus has been two-fold: first, upon ensuring equity and fairness in services and facilities; and, second, upon ensuring the integrity of constituent sentiment within the context of democratic governance reconciled with what are often-times competing, influential, and well-resourced stakeholders.

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Cherie Walkowiak

Cupertino Safe Routes To School Coordinator

Cherie Walkowiak has been a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in both Cupertino and Palo Alto. Before that, she ran the community group Safe Mountain View for several years, where she advocated for road designs safe enough for kids to walk and bike. Her advocacy resulted in a separated bike lane in front of a middle school in Mountain View, a citywide policy to install separated bike lanes on roads with speed limits > 30 mph, and the inclusion of studies of corridors into City plans. Cherie also founded the community group Carbon Free Mountain View, where she advocated for what would eventually become Silicon Valley Clean Energy: an electricity provider that provides 100% carbon-free electricity to most of Santa Clara County. She is a mother of two teenagers, holds a single subject teaching credential from San Jose State University and a BA in Language Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She loves to cook and is environmentally minded: conscious about reducing her family’s waste and carbon emissions. Her main mode of transportation is her cargo bike, and she delights in seeing how much it can carry.

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Alex U. Nickel

Author of Behold This Compost: How City-Wide Compost Programs Work and Why We Need Them Now, More Than Ever

Alex Nickel is the author of Behold This Compost: How City-Wide Compost Programs Work and Why We Need Them Now, More Than Ever. Part science and part memoir, Behold This Compost delves into anthropogenic climate change, environmental sustainability, and the logistics of urban compost programs. The book is available to purchase at Additionally, Alex is the creator of the educational YouTube channel Technicality ( and the subscription streaming service Nebula, on which he produces the show Alex Goes Bananas. If you want to learn more about Alex, he’s @alexunickel on every social media platform, and his website is

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Dr. Gary Latshaw

Chair of Cupertino's Sustainability Commission

Dr. Gary Latshaw will present the scientific basis for the man-induced warming of the world and the consequences of this warming: sea-level rise, more frequent and intense storms, droughts destroying crops, and other treacherous phenomena. The warming can be stopped and reversed, but that will require a transition away from traditional fuels and agriculture techniques. Dr. Gary Latshaw received his doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 1971. Although his career primarily involved non-environmental issues, he maintained a serious interest in the environment and man-induced climate change over the years. Now retired Dr. Latshaw from working as a physicist in industry and colleges, he is a member of the Climate Reality Project and has become active in the Sierra Club,,, BACE (Bay Area for Clean Environment), and others. He now serves on Cupertino’s Sustainability Commission.

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YEPI Workshop

Kelly Tung, Avishi Trivedi, Mira Wagner, June Wang

Kelly, Avishi, Mira, and June are all environmental leaders in the Youth Environmental Power Initiative. They will be speaking about a variety of topics in their workshop. Kelly will cover how to make a change in your community by going over her personal experiences and formulating a three-step approach to identifying and solving problems. Avishi will be tackling environmental justice, where she will identify and explain the root of the problem and how we can work towards solving it. Mira will be informing participants about the importance of renewable energy and the different forms that we cultivate it today. June will be going over student and environmental advocacy and provide tips on how students can be more involved with their community. They hope that this workshop will help you delve into creating your own green innovations and give you a better idea of the current climate problems, solutions, and advocacy that is taking place today. They encourage you to take action and advocate for the environment today.


Summit Pictures

Summit Pictures
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