Climate Education

In the summer of 2020, we created the Climate Education team to expand climate change education in New Haven public schools and to encourage schools to to make changes that cut greenhouse gases in their everyday operations. While NHPS’ implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards is a step in the right direction, and there is some climate education in NHPS, we believe it is imperative that students gain more exposure to this topic. 
 
An enhanced curriculum would include a sufficient understanding of the climate crisis and its impacts on the environment. The Climate Education team has put together a proposal for Climate Justice Schools to provide students with the education and skills to address this crisis, which we will present to the New Haven board of education. 

Climate Justice Schools

Climate Justice Schools are those that respond to the Climate Crisis with education and action. The Climate Justice School program supports school efforts to incorporate climate change and climate justice education, climate solutions focused community service hours, project-based learning, a Climate Week in April, and Meatless Mondays in their programming.

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Board of Education - Pass Climate Emergency Resolution
See Resolution here

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The BoE Climate Emergency Resolution is a campaign created in the spring of 2022, targeting the New Haven Board of Education (NHBOE). This campaign is pushing the NHBOE to declare a climate emergency and improve climate education and mobilization efforts throughout New Haven Public Schools.

The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization, reported in their K12 Climate Action Plan that, “the education sector has yet to establish its role in addressing climate change, and large-scale climate solutions too often overlook the role education can play, “ and “envision(s) a future where America’s over 100,000 schools are models for climate action, climate solutions, and sustainability, and the 50 million children and youth in these schools are prepared to succeed in the clean economy and lead a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable society.”  While we have already gotten the Board of Alders and city of New Haven to declare a climate emergency in 2019, we believe that it is important that the NHBOE take action on climate change as well, due to the K-12 school system's immense contributions to carbon emissions.

If you are a local organization in New Haven that wishes to support the passing of our resolution, sign onto our letter and read our resolution here.

The Climate Justice School program recognizes the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities and future generations and actively works towards curbing the human cost of a changing climate while creating healthier communities. 

The benefits of Climate Justice Schools (CJS’s) reach far beyond the classroom and out into the greater community, and include:

  • Climate education that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and has local benefits such as  improved public health through transportation, food, and energy education.

  • In-school climate solutions projects that empower students through giving them leadership opportunities to improve their community, work with teachers to engage in difficult problems, and formulate solutions. 

  • Classroom activities that explore climate justice and equity issues at a time when many communities are confronting racial injustice.

  • Prepares students for a changing future in which there will be a massive shift to clean energy technologies, and significant investment in climate resiliency.

  • Opportunities for students to tap into an issue they are  passionate about and become educated on this issue, which will open doors for future career choices.  

Resources

The Climate Health Education Project (CHEP)  is a New Haven  organization that provides resources for teachers and students to integrate climate change education into the classroom. Check our the CHEP website for a vast list of climate related programs, activities, and lesson plans. 

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Updates 

Sign this petition in support of implementing more climate education in New Haven public schools. 
 
On July 27, members from our climate education committee testified at a NHPS Board of Education meeting in support of our Climate Justice Schools proposal, and helped move the Climate Justice Schools proposal onto the Teaching and Learning Committee for further discussion. 

On August 19th, members from our climate education committee joined teachers and Board of Education members at a NHPS Teaching and Learning Committee meeting to discuss our proposal.