Uplift is a climate conference created for, and by, young people. We believe conservation needs young voices, more diversity, and a new focus on climate justice. We are rooted in the red rock cliffs, sacred peaks and precious waters of the Colorado Plateau.

What is climate justice?

Climate justice makes climate change a social issue by centering communities on the frontlines of climate disaster while resisting exploitative institutions, systems, and power structures that perpetuate inequity in order to honor life.  


We seek to empower and unite young leaders to address climate change on the Colorado Plateau.



We, as youth, are rising.  We envision a future in which climate injustice is addressed at all levels of decision-making. We celebrate the diverse peoples, ecosystems, and unique landscapes of the Colorado Plateau as we engage the threat of climate change in the places we love. We want future generations to come of age with hope and adaptations to live in our warming world.



Uplift is committed to creating a just world for all people. We recognize the historical context of inequity and oppression on which climate and environmental movements have been built upon. In order to bring equity and justice to our work, we strive to empower marginalized identities in our leadership and our movement. We strive to create a culture of inclusiveness in our community.

Uplift's History

In November of 2014, ten twenty-somethings gathered at the historic Kane Ranch near the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. Their goal? Organize a gathering of young people across the Colorado Plateau to spark meaningful action through thoughtful conversation. They decided to call the gathering “Uplift,” inspired by the geologic process that led to the rise of the Colorado Plateau and defines its borders. With support from the Grand Canyon Trust and the Landscape Conservation Initiative, the first Uplift Conference in the spring of 2015 engaged nearly 100 young people. The discussions at Uplift 2015 sparked a new focus on climate change and climate justice.

The second round of Uplift Organizers convened once more in November 2015. Climate change, the ultimate threat to the places we love, is never far from our minds, whether we're gazing at the Colorado River as it winds through Marble Canyon, exploring the Rocky Mountains, or working on food justice. We believe each of us has a vital story to share about our stake in these places, yet right now, young people's voices aren't being heard by decision makers. Uplift is trying to change that, by focusing on climate change, climate justice, and storytelling. The 2016 Conference took place August 18-20 in Durango, Colorado.