San Francisco Mayor Lee Pushes for Climate Education for All

SF Mayor Pushes for Climate Education
Mayor Ed Lee meets with ACE Executive Director Matt Lappé and Founder Mike Haas

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced a new partnership with ACE that will provide climate education to all San Francisco public high school students.

The Mayor made the announcement on April 20 at an ACE Assembly at Raoul Wallenberg High School, saying, “San Francisco is the first major city to embrace climate science education for students, and I will be engaging mayors from across the country to join in and equip young people with the knowledge to understand the causes of climate change and the solutions to reverse its effects.” Mayor Lee is preparing to host the Annual Conference of Mayors in June and will invite the nation’s mayors to make a similar commitment to climate education in their cities.

ACE has a rich history of working with California students on climate education and action, especially in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The first ACE Assembly ever given to students was at San Francisco’s Mission High School in 2009. Since then, we’ve reached nearly 20,000 students in SFUSD alone, and more than 750,000 across the state of California.

Climate change is increasingly on the minds of Californians and has gotten more attention recently in mainstream media. “As California faces severe drought, it has never been more vital to educate our students with a basic understanding of climate change,” said Mayor Lee.

We couldn’t agree more. ACE plans to join in the effort, advocating for climate education in other American cities at the June U.S. Conference of Mayors and locally within the regions we work.

Just last week on Earth Day, ACE Action Fellows in New York City took to the streets with New York City Councilmember Costa Constantinides to push for a resolution that would urge the New York State Department of Education to include lessons on climate change in K-12 school curricula. New York students, like those in California, have felt climate-charged disasters strike close to home, like Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Similar to Mayor Lee, students have spoken out across the country for more education on climate, like ACE Action Fellow, Annie Willis. She says, “I am angry that Sandy destroyed my house and that over two years later, we, high school students, are not being properly informed. Students have the right to know about the causes of climate change and the solutions to address it."

As we reach our 2 millionth student, ACE will continue to fill this critical national gap in climate education with our award-winning assembly. And, we’ll work hard to support elected leaders and students like Annie to advocate for climate education for all.


Leah Qusba

Leah joined ACE in 2009 and is currently serving as Deputy Director. She brings with her more than 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a relationship-builder, communicator and strategic problem solver. She manages ACE’s program, campaign, communications, media, and marketing strategy.