NY High Schoolers Take More Action on Climate Than Congress

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For Immediate Release
Release Date: 3/4/2015
Contact: Leah Qusba | 262.880.8661 | leah@acespace.org

While members of Congress play with snow on the Senate floor, a coalition of young people in New York that understand both the science and the urgency of climate change are actively working to ensure their fellow community members are educated.

Young New Yorkers are working with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), Global Kids, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to introduce and now pass a resolution calling upon the New York State Department of Education (NYDOE) to include lessons on climate change in K-12 school curriculum. The resolution already has the sponsorship of 11 City Council Members and the coalition has launched a petition on Change.org to move the resolution out of committee and pass it. NRDC, a recent endorser, has also sent signed letters of endorsement to all 51 members of the City Council.

This resolution has national relevance and could pave the way for similar mandates in cities and states across the nation. The organizations involved are gearing up to bolster climate science education nationwide. Why? Currently, 56% of Republicans in Congress deny the science behind climate change, even as 97% of climate scientists are telling the public that climate change is real, directly related to human activity and has potentially devastating consequences. This gap between what scientists know and what the public understands needs to be closed.

To pass this resolution youth will build on the momentum gained with the campaign last year and continue working with leaders like Council Members Costa Constantinides and Donovan Richards to build support. The students will be participating in campaign planning and strategy sessions, and organizing and attending demonstrations. They will also be directly engaging with community members to gather signatures for the petition, which they plan to present to the City Council.

"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." - Annie Willis, 18, ACE and Global Kids Action Fellow, New York, New York

If you want to support their work and add to the growing chorus of voices calling for the adoption of climate education for all, you can sign this petition calling for the City Council to pass the resolution. You can also stay updated on the campaign at the ACE or Global Kids websites.

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.