Ben & Jerry's and WWF Launch Climate Change College

Ben & Jerry's and WWF Launch Climate Change College

Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's are seeking young people to stop the melt and help lick global warming.

Together with WWF and polar explorer Marc Cornelissen, the internationally recognized brand is launching the Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College in support of WWF's international PowerSwitch! campaign.

The three-year initiative will see six young people -- aged 18-25 -- each year become Climate Change Ambassadors after graduating from the Ben & Jerry's Climate College. Successful applicants to the college will be fully trained through internships, workshops, and a visit to the polar region to witness the issue for themselves and support ongoing research into climate change.

"Just like ice cream, if it's melted it's ruined," said Jerry Greenfield, one of the co-founder's of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, who attended the launch of the Climate Change College. "Like everybody in the world, I believe that global climate change is an incredible problem and we need to do something about it."

"It is this belief that has led us to create the Climate Change College, giving young people the skills to return to their countries to inspire businesses and citizens to start addressing the issue of climate change."

The project's main objective is to help these young people develop the practical skills to help fight climate change and prevent the polar ice caps from further melting. This group of international ambassadors will be recruited from the U.K. and the Netherlands. After completing their college and field mission in 2006 the ambassadors will campaign and spread the message with support from Ben & Jerry's and WWF.

Scientists fear that by 2100 there may be no sea-ice left during the Arctic summers. This will have far-reaching and non-reversible impacts on local population and wildlife. The second largest freshwater reserve on the planet - the Greenland ice sheet - also shows worrying signs of accelerated melting.

Unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut, we will see warming over Greenland triggering a very rapid meltdown. Over the following centuries this could cause global ocean levels to rise by seven meters. Global warming and the meltdown of the polar ice caps will ultimately affect people and communities the world over.

The main culprit for CO2 emissions is the electricity sector, mainly due to coal-powered stations. The use of coal is especially polluting as it produces more CO2 per unit of energy then any other fuel. WWF's PowerSwitch! campaign aims at cleaning up the act of the power sector.

"Melting ice caps, violent weather, severe droughts, warming oceans, species forced to move to cooler homes -- coal power is responsible for these alarming signs of global warming," said Imogen Zethoven, leader of the global PowerSwitch! Campaign. "We need to move away from coal and fast."

Addressing the need for a new generation of young campaigners, the Climate Change College has been created to empower people to challenge the way businesses and individuals impact the environment. The PowerSwitch! campaign will be the main content for campaign activities in the college.

"Ben and I built Ben & Jerry's on the idea that business has a responsibility to the community and environment," Greenfield said. "Now, when we face a problem like global warming, and you understand that the biggest impacts on global warming come from business and industry. I think business needs to take a leading role. Business can be a source of progressive change."
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