Youth Call for Climate Education to be Taught in Schools

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For Immediate Release
Release Date: 4/21/2015
Contact: Leah Qusba | 262.880.8661 | leah@acespace.org

According to a report released on Monday by the Yale Project on Climate Change, only about half of Americans (52%) think that global warming, if it’s happening, is caused by humans. And, only about one in ten Americans understands that over 90 percent of climate scientists think human-caused global warming is happening. Campaigns that spread doubt about climate change are winning, but young people see a better path forward: better, early education about climate change.

Youth understand that the key to climate action at scale is an informed public. That’s why they’re leading the way by demanding that climate change be taught in their classrooms across the country. Tomorrow on Earth Day, April 22, the New York City Council, EPA, NRDC, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) and Global Kids will hold a joint press conference on the steps of New York City Hall to push for statewide climate education for K-12 schools in New York. Resolution 0375-2014 calls for climate education to be included in New York State school curriculum and it currently has 21 of the 26 needed sponsors to pass. 

Research shows us that education remains a fundamental ingredient in ensuring citizens are ready for their leaders to take swift action on climate. It was recently demonstrated in another Yale Project on Climate Change report that there is a strong correlation between senators' acknowledgement of man-made climate change, and the general public opinion of their constituents.

Annie Willis wants all of her fellow New Yorkers and elected leaders to be educated. She’s a high school student currently serving in a yearlong Fellowship with ACE and Global Kids in New York and she knows the realities of a changing climate all too well:

"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."

These students in New York are part of a growing national and global movement. Just this Monday in San Francisco, San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee, officially announced a new partnership with ACE that will provide climate education to all San Francisco public high school students. Mayor Lee is preparing to host the Annual Conference of Mayors in June and he’s calling on cities across America to join San Francisco in immediately implementing climate education for all students. The Mayor spoke at an ACE Assembly at Raoul Wallenberg High School on Monday afternoon:

“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.”  

ACE Fellows in New York and across the U.S. plan to scale this climate education campaign globally. They’ll apply pressure to international governments, urging the United Nations General Assembly in September to prioritize climate education. ACE will send a delegation of Fellows from around the nation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to host an official event. There, youth will call for the global climate agreement to include climate education as a priority.  

Earth Day, April 22, Press Conference Details in New York

  • What: A press conference calling on New York’s City Council to support Resolution 0375-2014 to teach climate science in New York school curricula
  • Speakers:
    • EPA Region 2 Administrator, Judith Enck
    • NRDC Campaigner, Rob Friedman
    • New York City Councilmember Costa Constantinides
    • ACE NY Program Manager, Maayan Cohen
    • ACE and Global Kids Action Fellows
      • Nsilo Mavour
      • Victoria Barrett
      • Annie Willis
  • Where: Steps of New York City Hall
  • When: April 22, 2015 - 10am EDT

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.