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Teen Headed to Climate Summit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marjorie Holt   
Wednesday, December 16 2009,0,3291730.story
Oviedo senior will travel to Denmark for UN climate-change conference
By Daphne Sashin, Orlando Sentinel

December 3, 2009

OVIEDO — The chairwoman of the Central Florida Sierra Club had never heard of Joseph Manning, but she knew she had to meet the 17-year-old whose 6-page resume landed in her e-mail inbox recently.

Joseph, a senior at Hagerty High, had been picked to travel to Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference that begins Monday. He was one of two U.S. high-school students selected to attend the conference as delegates of the Sierra Student Coalition, and the only Florida representative of the Sierra Club.


His list of accomplishments blew away chairwoman Mary-Slater Linn: National Merit scholar, co-founder of the Young Democrats club, tutor, volunteer, theater standout. Joseph had excelled academically despite a learning disability.

"Is this kid for real?" Linn thought. "He was just so impressive."

After meeting Joseph in person, the club happily gave him $500 for the trip. The state Sierra Club and other nonprofits, local businesses and individuals concerned about climate change helped him raise a total of $2,400.

"All of us kicked in [money] because we realized we're getting old and we have to have young people out there," Linn said. "If we could only clone him by the dozen, it would be so much easier for us."

Joseph, who leaves for Denmark on Thursday, , first became interested in the science and politics of global warming while researching the issue for a middle-school research paper. Before the U.N. conference starts, he will participate in a two-day meeting with young people from at least 70 countries.

"I looked at the science behind it, and I reached the conclusion that it was not only going on, but it was necessary that we as humans take some steps to keep it from continuing," he said. "Our generation is really waking up to the fact that this is our future, and there are a lot of things that concern us."

Social studies teacher Robin Grenz had Joseph in her gifted sixth-grade social studies class and for AP American History.

"Some of these kids are way smarter than we are, and we need their creativity, we need their innovation, we need their energy."

Joseph will blog from the climate change summit on the Sierra Club of Central Florida site ( and on his Facebook fan page: Joseph Manning SSC's Delegate to COP15.

Daphne Sashin can be reached at 407-650-6361 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel


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