SF Mayor Calls on Cities to Implement Climate Education

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

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For Immediate Release
Release Date: 4/20/2015
Contact: Leah Qusba | 262.880.8661 | leah@acespace.org

Today, to kick off the beginning of Earth Week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) called on America’s cities to implement climate science education for students. Since 2009, ACE has provided their award-winning climate science assembly to San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) high schools at no cost to the City. As of today, ACE has reached over 20,000 SFUSD students and is nearing their two millionth educated student nationally.

“As California faces severe drought, it has never been more vital to educate our students with a basic understanding of climate change,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “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.”

“Educating tomorrow’s inventors, policymakers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and voters on the climate crisis and inspiring them to create solutions is vital in securing our future,” said ACE founder Michael Haas.

“We are thrilled to be working with Mayor Lee and SFUSD to educate San Francisco’s students on the science of climate change and provide them with the tools and know-how to tackle this enormous challenge head on,” added ACE’s Executive Director, Matt Lappé.

ACE builds on the curriculum already taught in high school science classrooms by engaging young people through an interactive, multimedia assembly presentation that outlines the causes and effects of climate change. ACE also works with students to get involved in their local communities through sustainability projects, civic engagement and a fellowship program. Their climate science assembly has won numerous awards and earlier this year, the White House honored a member of the organization’s staff as a “Champion of Change” for Climate Education and Literacy.

Through support from ACE’S founder Michael Haas, individual donors and institutional funders, ACE is able to offer their programs to every school interested in receiving the assembly. The organization also accepts honorariums from schools, but never turns away a school for lack of funds.

Recently, ACE’s assembly was praised by the academic journal Climatic Change for its effect in educating young people. As part of that study, experts from Yale, Stanford and George Mason University surveyed 2,847 students in 49 high schools nationwide before and after viewing the ACE assembly. The report concluded that “the net impact of [ACE’s work] could be a population shift in knowledge and positive engagement in the issue of climate change…[and] can inspire youth for deeper engagement in school programs, personal action, and political and consumer advocacy.”

ACE plans to advocate for climate education in other American cities at the June U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Mayor Lee in San Francisco.

The first ACE assembly given to students was at San Francisco’s Mission High School in 2009.

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.