Youth and Parent Activists Can Advance Climate Action in Schools
Washington, DC – Today, K12 Climate Action, an initiative by the Aspen Institute, hosted Washington Governor Jay Inslee for a discussion about growing the movement for addressing climate change in schools across the country. Governor Inslee was joined by a panel of leaders who discussed opportunities to engage students and parents in advocating for climate action in their school, including Andrew Brennen, co-founder of the Kentucky Student Voice Team and National Geographic Education Fellow; Jerome Foster II, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and Executive Director of OneMillionOfUs; and Anna King, president-elect of National PTA. K12 Climate Action is co-chaired by John B. King Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust and 10th U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, and Christine Todd Whitman, president of the Whitman Strategy Group and former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
“We need to think and act boldly to address climate change. That means mobilizing people and institutions for action,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Our schools are hubs of their communities. They have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint while also being learning labs for the jobs of the future. We must all work together to heed the call of so many young activists, and take action for their future and for the planet’s future.”
“Building a broad coalition can help our schools reduce their environmental footprint and adapt to climate impacts, all while preparing our students for the future,” said King. “Climate action needs to happen at the local, state, and national level, and it will take all of us engaging to create the future we want for ourselves and our children.”
Today’s session marked the sixth and final listening session hosted by the commission, which has explored how schools can transition to sustainable operations, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and support teaching and learning to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges of the future.
“We have heard from teachers, school leaders, experts, policymakers, students, and parents about efforts to support schools across the country in implementing climate solutions,” said Whitman. “It is clear that we need an action plan that will elevate these promising practices and develop a policy framework to support our education sector in its role to address climate change.”
K12 Climate Action, which consists of 22 commissioners and over 40 coalition members, is committed to developing an action plan that outlines steps for the public K-12 education sector in moving toward climate action, solutions, and environmental justice. Watch the event here. For more information, visit k12climateaction.org and join the conversation by following K12 Climate Action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.