K12 Climate Action Announces Brand Relaunch with This Is Planet Ed and a Bold New Vision for the United States Education Sector

September 20, 2022

Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary John B. King will co-Chair This is Planet Ed, an Aspen Institute initiative that brings climate action to the education sector–from early years to higher education–and beyond.

Clarke Williams
clarke.williams@aspeninstitute.org | 703-554-7378

Washington, DC –  Today, the Aspen Institute announces the rebrand of the K12 Climate Action initiative to This is Planet Ed, a comprehensive initiative that envisions an education system in which children and youth of all ages can thrive in their communities and are empowered to take meaningful climate action.

Co-chaired by John B. King Jr., president 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, This is Planet Ed builds on the success of K12 Climate Action, launched in 2020. Over the course of a year, K12 Climate Action hosted a national listening tour that featured conversations with parents, educators, and students. Each offered insights and recommendations for how K-12 schools could advance climate action, solutions, and environmental justice. The K12 Climate Action Plan was a culmination of this work; in the plan, K12 Climate Action identified the myriad opportunities that the K-12 education sector can take to prepare today’s students to lead a sustainable future and succeed in a clean economy. The plan included policy recommendations for the federal, state, and local governments to catalyze and scale climate action.

In the past year, stories have emerged from communities taking climate action, ranging from school districts like Prince George’s County, Maryland, Hopewell Valley, New Jersey, Miami-Dade, Florida, Dallas, Texas, and  Los Angeles, California.

“The critical nature of addressing climate change requires us all to advance solutions. With K12 Climate Action, we elevated the opportunity for the K-12 education sector to take action,” said King. “Since the release of our action plan, we’ve heard from people in the early years sector, higher education, and children’s media interested in developing their own plans of action. Now, with this exciting new expansion, we can broadly mobilize education and prepare today’s young people to advance a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable society.

“The growth of K12 Climate Action into This Is Planet Ed highlights the success of our K12 Climate Action Commissioners, working collaboratively alongside students, parents, and educators, to drive climate action in the K-12 education sector,” said the senior fellow with the Energy and Environment program leading the This Is Planet Ed initiative, Laura Schifter. “We now have the opportunity to build on that work and support broader action.”

This Is Planet Ed focuses on four key opportunities for broad mobilization across the education sector from early childhood to post-secondary, in both formal and informal learning:

  • Early Years Climate Action, a partnership with Capita, will explore how the early years sector can support young children ages 0 to 8 to flourish despite facing the impacts of climate change.
  • K12 Climate Action will continue to support students through their educational journeys by assisting school districts in developing and implementing local climate action plans.
  • Higher Education Climate Action will prepare students to succeed in the clean economy, to innovate, and to deploy climate solutions.​​
  • Climate Media for Kids will harness the reach and influence of the media to support children and their families in building scientifically-grounded awareness and understanding of climate science, solutions, and sustainability.


“Every young person should have the opportunity to actively participate in building a more sustainable future and thriving planet,” said former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush and Governor Christine Todd Whitman. “This Is Planet Ed makes it clear that we need more collaboration across the education sector. By working to advance solutions from early childhood through post-secondary education, we can empower youth to make that sustainable future a reality.”

This Is Planet Ed partners with individuals and organizations with a range of expertise across early years, K-12, higher education, and children’s media. For more information about individual projects like K12 Climate Action, the Early Years Task Force, Higher Ed Climate Action, and Climate Media 4 Kids, visit ThisIsPlanetEd.org and join the conversation by following This Is Planet Ed 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.

This Is Planet Ed is an initiative of the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program that intends to unlock the power of education as a force for climate action, climate solutions, and environmental justice to empower the rising generation to lead a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. This Is Planet Ed will work across Early Years, K-12, Higher Education, and Children’s Media to build our societal capacity to advance climate solutions. Visit www.thisisplaneted.org/.

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