Science teachers, students get Times Square New Year's stage

Revelers wait for midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration in New York's Times Square, as seen from above from the Marriott Marquis hotel, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — This year's New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square will spotlight efforts to combat climate change when high school science teachers and students press the button that begins the famous 60-second ball drop and countdown to next year.

“On New Year’s Eve, we look back and reflect on the dominant themes of the past year, and seek hope and inspiration as we look forward," Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins said in a statement Saturday announcing the plan. The honorees, he said, “are working to solve this global problem through science.”

Jared Fox, who teaches at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, and seniors Ricardo Herrera and Diane Arevalo are working on a clean-air and greening project in the school's Upper Manhattan neighborhood.

Aida Rosenbaum, a Bronx Latin School teacher, and seniors Daniel Soto and Van Troy Ulloa led a fundraising walk to raise money for places without clean water.

Young climate activists gained new prominence this year, when Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg sparked school strikes around the world after she began skipping class to press for more action on fighting global warming.

She created a memorable moment at a U.N. climate summit this fall when she repeatedly scolded world leaders: “How dare you!” Time magazine later chose the 16-year-old Thunberg as its Person of the Year.

But 2019 also was a year of setbacks and disappointment for climate activists.

The Trump administration began the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris agreement to curb emissions, and marathon U.N. climate talks this month ended with no major breakthrough as large-scale polluters balked at intensifying the fight against global warming.

The Times Square New Year's Eve bash and broadcast is also set to feature entertainers including Post Malone, K-pop group BTS, country singer Sam Hunt and singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette.


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