Teens Teach GOP Senators About Climate Science

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For Immediate Release
Release Date: 3/11/2015
Contact: Leah Qusba | 262.880.8661 | leah@acespace.org

A recent poll that found that 90% of 8th-graders understand that human activity causes climate change, compared to the 90% of Republican senators who voted against an amendment asserting man-made climate change as a fact. In response, teenagers are taking action — by speaking directly to their senators. Yesterday, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) joined Avaaz on their Take the Senate to School on Climate campaign in Washington, D.C. The campaign’s goal is to highlight the willful ignorance of our elected officials who deny the science of climate change and to urge them to take action now. To call out those senators, six teenagers, including four from ACE, visited Washington, D.C. to speak directly with their senators.

Students at the Captiol

ACE Action Fellow, Ian Feather, is a high school student at Cedar Ridge High School in North Carolina, a state that is seeing firsthand the effects of climate change. It’s projected that warming will lead to a decrease in air quality in a state where asthma affects an estimated 211,200 kids and 525,900 adults. Not only that, the 19 counties that saw record summertime temperatures in 2010 could be feeling even more heat as temperatures could rise as much as 10.5°F. Having already started an environmental club at his school and serving in a year-long Action Fellowship with ACE, Ian jumped at the chance to join other teenagers around the country in taking his concerns directly to science-denying senators in Washington, D.C.

Reactions from the senators were varied: John McCain (R-AZ) hurried into an elevator to avoid the high schoolers, while Richard Burr (R-NC) changed the subject to talk about his work on land and water conservation. However, the students were also able to meet with elected officials pushing for swift action on climate including: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Angus King (I-ME). Students were thrilled to join Senator Sanders in a personal meeting to discuss their ideas for action on climate, both nationally and internationally.

Students Meet with Senator Burr

While climate denying senators did their best to avoid the conversation, these students demonstrated that if we want to see meaningful action on climate, we must hold our elected leaders accountable, even if that means traveling to Washington, D.C. to get a face-to-face meeting with them. To join the campaign and tell Congress to pay attention to science, sign Avaaz’s petition here. To arrange interviews with the students about their experience, please contact Leah Qusba at leah@acespace.org.

More about ACE:

The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) recognizes that young people have the most to lose when it comes to climate change, and the most to gain by solving it. ACE educates high school students about climate change and inspires them to take action.

Since 2008, ACE has reached over 1.8 million students across America with its climate education program and inspired over 300,000 students to take action. ACE has also empowered thousands of new and diverse students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be effective leaders. The program has been proven to work. In 2014, ACE students advocated for a New York City climate education mandate, pushed for school districts to cut carbon, and partnered with policy experts for lasting climate solutions.

ACE seeks to shift the landscape of climate engagement, which has traditionally excluded young people and communities of color – those that are most affected by climate consequences. 73% of ACE schools are public and 60% of students in its programs are youth of color.