Giving Compass’ Take:
• There is both a need and opportunity for schools to promote student participation in climate action to fight climate change.
• How can donors support the education sector in addressing climate change?
• Here are five youth climate activists you should know.
Climate change is not just an environmental crisis but a human crisis. It is an umbrella issue that will impact every facet of society and exacerbate existing problems like inequality and poverty. For us to succeed in tackling this challenge, we all need to determine our responsibility to act—every individual, every community, every organization, and every nation. But this work cannot be done in isolation. It demands that we break down our silos and collaborate on solutions that are meaningful and impactful.
To date, the education sector has largely stayed out of the climate conversation, and large-scale climate solutions have not considered the role that the sector can play. Yet, education can be a key tool in the fight against climate change. Researchers have identified education as a critical social tipping point to help us achieve rapid decarbonization by 2050. And our public schools present both a need and an opportunity to address this once in a lifetime crisis.
Mitigate. Across the country, there are 98,000 public schools, each with a unique carbon footprint. Our schools are among the largest consumers of energy in the public sector, and energy costs are the second-largest budget cost for schools behind only salaries.
Adapt. As the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed, school closures cause significant disruptions for our children, our families, our community.
Educate. Schools and educators also provide a critical opportunity. With over 50 million children and youth enrolled in our public school system, our educators can support teaching and learning to help prepare the next generation to advance a more sustainable world.
Advance equity. For too long Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific American, Indigenous, and other communities of color and low-income communities have suffered due to inequities in our education systems and our environmental policies.
Read the full article about how climate action can happen in schools at The Aspen Institute.
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