The auditorium at James Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., is packed when Cy Maramangalam strolls onstage, sporting jeans and a shaved head.
"All right, how's everyone doing today?" he says to rousing cheers. It feels as if he's about to introduce a hot new band, but Maramangalam is with the Alliance for Climate Education, or ACE, and he's here to talk climate change. In the past few years, the nonprofit has put on multimedia presentations for more than 1 million students across the country. Think of it as Al Gore for Gen Y.
"Check this out," Maramangalam tells the students, as cartoon characters and graphs dance on a giant screen behind him. He explains that carbon dioxide levels are higher than they've ever been in 800,000 years, and that this is driving up the globe's thermostat.
"Jacking up the temperature toward this point should be freaking people out," he says. "But it's happening quietly."