Main Content

Keynote Address at the Intergenerational Spring Seminar

2020 Spring Seminar logo designed by Annabeth Sloan top left, with photos clockwise of youth climate activists Mitzi Tan, Dylan Hamilton, and Kallan Benson

2020 Seminar Keynote Speakers

Clockwise from top left: 2020 Seminar logo (designed by Annabeth Sloan), Mitzi Tan, Dylan Hamilton, Kallan Benson.

2020 Keynote Conversation

The keynote speakers at the UU@UN's 2020 Seminar were Mitzi Tan, Kallan Benson, and Dylan Hamilton, in discussion moderated by Seminar Youth Dean Sophia Geiger.

Speaker Bios

Sophia Geiger (Moderator)is a 17-year-old climate activist from Silver Spring Maryland. She works with Fridays for Future (the movement started by Greta Thunberg) organizing protests in her local area and working to connect and support activists around the country. She also works with Extinction Rebellion and planned a youth climate summit with Youth Climate Summit USA last spring. Before social distancing, Sophia did actions every Friday, silent strikes in school and then protests at the Capitol after school! She is super passionate about spreading education and awareness about the true severity of the climate breakdown and helping everyone get the tools to take action to stop it! She believes climate justice is deeply intertwined with the principles of the UU faith, and that it is all of our duty to do as much as we can to mitigate the crisis and the damage it will cause.

Mitzi Tan is the convenor of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines or YACAP. YACAP is an alliance of individuals and student formations with unities of immediate youth led climate action, demanding for climate justice, and standing united with our environment defenders.

Dylan Hamilton is a 15-year-old climate activist with Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS).

At 16, Kallan Benson is already a veteran activist with 7 years of experience working for a sustainable future. Kallan is a national organizer for Fridays For Future USA and integral to the international movement. She initiated the national strike movement on December 7, 2018, as one of the first two youths to establish strike locations. Through the Mother Earth Project, she co-directs a collaborative art activism initiative, Parachutes for the Planet, which invites participants to express their concerns about the future through community art. Because Kallan is an introvert who is often uncomfortable receiving attention, she is driven to seek creative ways to express her activism and ease others into action. She has earned the nickname "Butterfly" for a ubiquitous pair of wings from which she draws confidence in crowds. Greta Thunberg famously asserted, "You are never too small to make a difference." Those who work with Kallan quickly learn not to underestimate the "Butterfly" effect.

Watch the Livestream

The Keynote Conversation took place Saturday, April 18, 2020 during the Seminar and was streamed live on YouTube.