In the wake of dire warnings about the future and current threats of global warming and climate change from the US government, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the International Energy Agency (IEA), it’s clear that we need to tackle our illogical fossil fuel addiction fast. It’s critical that we tackle this issue from every angle possible, in every corner of society. It doesn’t get as much attention, but one critical place this needs to be addressed is in classrooms.
Our youth need to know what kind of challenges they are walking into as the mature and head out into the world as independents. We also need many of them to help tackle overflowing emissions, global warming, and climate change.
One organization that has been working in this realm for years, and which I have followed for years, is the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)*. From the ACE “About” page:
ACE is the national leader in high school climate science education.
We’re an award-winning national nonprofit dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind climate change and inspiring them to do something about it—while having fun along the way. We’re based in Oakland, California, with educator teams in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, Atlanta, New England, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
ACE delivers two core offerings: the ACE Assembly and Student Action Program.
As part of the Student Action Program, there’s the Do One Thing (DOT) campaign and there are Action Teams look to implement actual green projects at their schools. There are also leadership trainings, which are “intensive one-day workshops for climate rock stars.”
Something I have always enjoyed about ACE is the way it incorporates fun, art, and creativity into climate action. Despite dealing with a very difficult topic, this organization is full of a high-energy, empowering atmosphere of action and change. Here are a couple of videos that I think give a flavor of what I’m trying to express:
And below are actually a few more that I covered way back in 2010. Here are some DOT ones (more at the link):
And here’s a fun “Green Your Crib: Holiday Edition” video:
ACE Climate Action Fellow Brian Gomez of Chicago says:
Being an Ace Action Fellow means that my voice is heard. I walk into our weekly meetings and I’m excited and happy to meet with other teens in Chicago that have the same passion for the environmment and are determined to make a difference. I think it’s important for teens to understand the current barriers and issues around the environment and sustainability, and realize that they can be broken. All they need is a group of passionate people like the Sustainable Schools Action Team to let the public know the importance of saving energy and other sustainable practices. What we do as Fellows really changes the way we, as teens, look at social change, and helps us learn how to educate others and become active leaders for change in the environmental world.
One more program that ACE has been especially proud of lately is the Sustainable Schools initiative launched by Chicago fellows. The initiative “fights for schools that are green and also healthy learning environments where students feel safe, empowered and supported.” This is the group that created the “I’d Choose Us” video featured above, which they screened at the If I Had a Trillion Dollars Youth Film Festival. “The fellows recently traveled to Washington DC where they met with Senator Kirk (R-Ill) to lobby for climate solutions in our classrooms,” ACE adds.
“ACE supports youth to have a seat at the table for creating lasting climate solutions. And ACE prepares them to be knowledgeable, articulate and confident when they get there,” ACE Executive Director Matt Lappé states.
A great organization supporting climate knowledge and action in our youth which is definitely worthy of our support.
*The article was sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Education.