July 7th, 2015 by Aisha Abdelhamid
Calling for the “swift implementation” of ACE* climate education in high schools across the country, a bipartisan group of mayors attending the US Conference of Mayors’ annual June meeting took a strong stance against “climate change denialism.”
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and over 250 other mayors passed a resolution adopting High School climate change education. During the Environment Committee meeting, the mayors called for schools to partner with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) and other similar organizations to provide student climate change education to students in their cities. The resolution was then adopted by the full US Conference of Mayors.
“Our Kids Deserve to Learn Real Science”
Mayor Stanton, Chair of the USCM Environment Committee, said, “Climate change is real and our kids deserve to learn real science in our schools. That’s why we’re taking a stand.”
ACE founder Michael Haas stated, “Today, these mayors have taken this momentous step to address climate change.” Haas assured the conference of mayors, “We are eager to work with communities across the country to bring comprehensive climate science education to each and every high school student.”
Engaging young people through interactive programming, Haas pointed out that ACE explains climate change and explores solutions, working with students to get them involved. The young people become active in their local communities, said Haas, “through sustainability projects, civic engagement, and a fellowship program that teaches young people the knowledge and skills to be confident leaders on the issue.”
Presenting its first climate change science assembly at San Francisco’s Mission High School in 2009, ACE reports that it has since reached nearly two million students in 25 different cities with its education program. Over 400,000 students have been further inspired to take action, and ACE notes that it has also empowered thousands of students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be effective leaders.
Through support from Haas, as well as institutional funders and individual donors, ACE offers its programs to every school that is interested. Haas said, “the organization never turns away a school for lack of funds.” Seeking to “shift the landscape of climate engagement by building a diverse community of young people ready to act,” ACE points out that over 70% of ACE-involved schools are public, and over 60% of students in its programs are youth of color.
The US Conference of Mayors
San Francisco Mayor Lee announced, “Mayors across our country are committed to providing comprehensive climate science education in our schools to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders have the learning and tools to address climate change with innovative solutions and responsible policy.” He continued, “We believe in science and the existence of climate change that affects our cities, and we are taking steps to ensure that as our cities succeed, we also have a healthy, sustainable future.”
An official, non-partisan organization of cities with populations over 30,000, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) represents 1,407 cities. The mayor of each of these cities attends an annual winter meeting held each January in Washington, DC, and an annual summer meeting each June in a different US city. This year’s summer meeting was held in San Francisco, California.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined in the announcement of the new resolution, as well as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Seattle Mayor Edward Murray, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.
The ACE Climate Science Assembly Program
Offering climate change education for high schools “that puts teenagers at the center of the story,” the ACE Assembly program is a live, multimedia presentation on climate change science and solutions. Running for about 40 minutes in length. ACE also offers to custom tailor its assembly presentation to meet various needs of individual schools. Based on reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as other top-notch scientific sources, the ACE Assembly explains the science behind climate change.
With cutting-edge storytelling, combined with pop-culture entertainment, high school students learn about other young people whose lives have been affected by global warming. Then, armed with some of the most carefully researched and reviewed scientific data, the assembly closes with students being offered opportunities to get involved and take action. By presenting a vision of Earth without global warming, students are offered solutions that they can implement, thereby being the catalysts for change, by engaging their energy for a better future.
As reported on the ACE website, published in Climatic Change in partnership with researchers at Yale, Stanford, and George Mason University researchers, a peer-reviewed evaluation performed in October 2014 found the following results in high school students after viewing the ACE Assembly:
● 27% increase in climate science knowledge.
● 43% increase in students who are concerned or alarmed about climate change.
● The number of students talking to parents and peers about climate change more than doubled.
The Alliance for Climate Education encourages all faculty, students, and parents to book an ACE Assembly at your school today. You don’t have to wait for the official implementation of the new resolution by the US Conference of Mayors, if you would like to act now.
The following YouTube video will help get you excited about the ACE Climate Change Science Assembly for High School students:
Picture Credit: screenshot from acespace.org, copyright ACE.
*This article was kindly sponsored by ACE.
Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave newsletter.