Omega Press Release

October 14, 2019

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Omega’s Climate Conference to Galvanize Top Climate Solutions in Schools & Communities by Connecting Local & Global Stakeholders With Youth Leaders

“Drawdown Learn” October 18–20 to Offer Free Live Stream & Facebook Live Viewing Opportunities, Including Satellite Sites From New York to Hawaii to Brussels

RHINEBECK, NY – Last month people around the world watched and listened as Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit. Thunberg is just one of many young people standing up and speaking out on the severity of climate change and the urgent need for action. Building on this momentum, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is hosting a 3-day event Drawdown Learn: What Schools & Communities Can Do About Climate Change, on its Rhinebeck, New York, campus and online, October 18–20, 2019.

With many partner organizations and live stream satellite sites from as far away as Hilo, Hawaii, and Brussels, Belgium,Drawdown Learn will connect educators, students, municipal officials, staff from libraries and science museums, climate activists, and other bottom-up actors, as well as officials from top-level organizations such as the United Nations and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 “At Omega we know the consequences of climate change are real, but so are viable solutions that enable us to face the threat of a warming planet head on,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega, and the visionary behind the OCSL. “As we mark the 10th anniversary of the OCSL, a model of what is possible through regenerative thinking and design, we are motivated to inspire a solutions-based approach to climate change,” said Backus.

Omega’s climate solutions conference grows out of a 40-year legacy of convening conversations on environmental issues with leading experts, concerned citizens, and policy makers. Continuing this important role, Drawdown Learn will include an opening night panel discussion Women Advancing Climate Policy Solutions with Rhiana Gunn-Wright, the policy lead for the Green New Deal proposed to the U.S. Congress, and New York State legislators Didi Barrett and Jen Metzger, who were closely involved in passage of the new landmark law that commits New York to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Significantly, this event also continues to provide a forum for high school students to discuss climate education including Xiye Bastida and Alexandria Villaseñor, the two prominent activists in the Fridays for Future strike movement who welcomed Greta Thunberg at New York Harbor ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit.

In addition to the panel discussion, the conference will shed further light on the vital leadership role women are playing on climate solutions, by featuring such prominent voices as:

  • Katharine Wilkinson, Drawdown coauthor and the nonprofit’s vice president of communications and engagement. TIME magazine recently named Wilkinson one of 15 women leading the fight globally on climate change.
  • Dr. Renee Lertzman, journalist, psychologist, and expert in climate anxiety and communication.
  • Sherri Mitchell, indigenous rights activist, author, and attorney.
  • Jaimie Cloud, president of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.
  • Felicia M. Davis, founder of the HBCU Green Fund to help finance green projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The conference is the second Drawdown Learn event Omega has partnered on with Project Drawdown, to bring forward the 100 proven climate solutions published in 2017 in the New York Times best seller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

Additional topics to be covered will range from the Education for Sustainability (EfS) curriculum model, to the importance of indigenous cosmology in the climate movement, and why an equity framework is essential for climate-minded legislation.

“Across the country and around the world, we’re seeing communities mobilize to deal with the effects of climate change. There is so much learning to be garnered from schools, and at the municipal level where many important decisions are being made,” said Laura Weiland, director of the OCSL. “No matter how equipped people are to address climate matters at the local, regional, national, or international level, gatherings like Drawdown Learn are crucial for sharing knowledge of solutions, building alliances, and finding common purpose,” concluded Weiland, who is also is part of the coordinating team for the Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholders (ECOS) Community, officially recognized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Much of the conference will be available to watch and engage with live online, and post-event. For a detailed schedule and to register as a satellite site for the live stream, visit or call 800.944.1001, or follow the event via Facebook Live. Join the conversation at, Twitter @Omega_OCSL, and Instagram @Omeg­­­­­a_OCSL, #DrawdownLearn, #ClimateSolutions, #OCSL.

To apply for a media pass, visit our online Media Center.

About Omega Center for Sustainable Living

Founded in 2009, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) originated as the first green building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification—the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. Located at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, in Rhinebeck, New York, the OCSL is an environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative thinking and environmental practices modeled by the building.

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About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 250 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and online at