From the Paris Climate Agreement to the Clean Power Plan, environmental issues — and contentious debates about them — have been front and center in the Trump administration. Individuals on both sides have dug in their heels, and there’s little appetite for finding common ground. But is there another way forward?

Ensia decided to find out by bringing together two of the country’s most influential emerging leaders — Benji Backer, founder of the American Conservation Coalition, and Caroline Weinberg, co-founder of the March for Science — for a conversation. Together they discussed the role of science in policy-making and how we might find common ground on critical environmental challenges given our hyperpartisan political climate.

Backer is president and founder of the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) — a millennial-led national organization giving a voice to college-age conservatives who care about the environment. He has spoken at events across the country, including the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2014 and 2016. Backer describes himself as a conservative who hopes to “unite Americans on pro-environmental reforms and change the narrative when it comes to the environment” according to the ACC website.

Weinberg is one of the co-founders of the March for Science — a global movement that brought together more than one million people (and five African penguins) in 600 locations around the world in support of science in 2017. Since then, she has continued as the interim executive director of the March for Science organization which describes itself as a “non-partisan nonprofit that advocates for equitable, evidence-based policies and supports a global grassroots network of science advocates.”

The conversation moved from the roots of their own personal belief systems and the organizations they founded to the role of social media in dividing the country, strategies for bridging divides when talking about climate change and their hopes for the future.

Both Backer and Weinberg were asked if they’d ever consider running for political office, and both responded with a resounding — and somewhat surprising — no.

In the end, there was one thing the two millennial leaders could completely agreed on: