Today’s youth are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last that can do something about it. A flotilla of partners are working together to empower young people around the world to engage in the UNFCCC climate talks taking place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
Why does climate change education matter?
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says in Article 6, education contributes to the solutions being developed to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.
“The solutions to climate change are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all. To see this and to understand what needs to be done requires a sharp and sustained focus on education, training and public awareness in all countries and at all levels of government, society and enterprise.”
Key points on why climate change education matters:
- Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources all confirm that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming. Scientists who study climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with significant changes in Earth’s climatic trends. (U.S. National Climate Assessment, 2014)
- Over the 21st century, climate scientists expect Earth’s temperature to continue increasing, very likely more than it did during the 20th century. Two anticipated results are rising global sea levels and increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, and floods. These changes will affect almost every aspect of human society, including economic prosperity, human and environmental health, and national security. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will bring economic and environmental challenges as well as opportunities, and citizens who have an understanding of climate science will be better prepared to respond to both. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Society needs citizens who understand the climate system and know how to apply that knowledge in their careers and in their engagement as active members of their communities. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will continue to be a significant element of public discourse. Understanding the essential principles of climate science will enable all people to assess news stories and contribute to their everyday conversations as informed citizens. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
The #Youth4Climate social media campaign is an effort led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Department of Energy, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the CLEAN Network, The Wild Center, the World Bank Group’s global partnership program Connect4Climate, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, Alliance for Climate Education, Earth Day Network, Climate Interactive, and others. It is an open discussion for all to join the youth call for climate action.
Young people are one of the largest demographics in the world — approximately one billion youth roam the globe today. Climate education is now a necessary foundation for those young people. In order to tackle the complex issue of climate change, we need leaders with the skills, knowledge, and passion to push for and innovate solutions.
With their knowledge, young people are already the leaders of this generation. They are already demanding ambitious action on climate change and leading a youth climate movement. The #Youth4Climate coalition is supporting them all the way on the road to and through Paris.
We are excited to join forces and support them by giving them a voice and an opportunity to lead in Paris and beyond. We know the solutions are here, and are committed to working together to build a resilient climate-friendly world. Join us at #Youth4Climate.
Social Media Kit
This coordinated media effort is a commitment to educating, engaging, and lifting up youth in the COP 21 space. In order to create a powerful presence during this defining moment in climate history, we need your help! This toolkit should provide you with all the information you need to engage in the #Youth4Climate social media campaign, as well as provide you with a list of important youth and climate education initiatives taking place around COP21.
From November 12 until December 12, we’re calling on young people to share their climate solutions, tell their climate stories, and engage in the UNFCCC COP21.
November 12–13: In the center of the Adirondacks in northern New York, 200 high school & college students convene at The Wild Center for the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit to learn climate science and to create Climate Action Plans for their schools & communities. Follow #ADKyouthsummit and watch highlights at wildcenter.org/live.
November 12–30: Send in your climate questions or statements to the partners developing the U.S. Center side event, “Our Time to Lead: Youth Engagement on Climate Change,” on November 30 using the hashtag #AskUSCenter. Partners involved in this event include ASTC, The Wild Center, and the Alliance for Climate Education, in collaboration with DOE and NOAA. (www.state.gov/cop21)
November 15: Students and teachers from schools from across New England will meet at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut for the GSAx Sustainability Conference to share best practices and create action plans around how schools can play an integral part in addressing climate and conservation challenges. Follow #GreenSchoolsAll and learn more here.
November 16–17: If you are in Washington, D.C. November 16-17, join the World Bank Youth Summit 2015 to engage with crowd-sourced solutions to climate change, or discuss climate change with your peers online with #wbgyouthsummitLearn more.
November 20: During the Vermont Youth Climate Summit, high school and college students from across the state of Vermont will share ideas, craft plans, and inspire action to reduce carbon footprints of schools and communities through peer-to-peer learning at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Follow along on Facebook and connect with #VTYCS.
November 21: Middle and high school students will gather at Furr High School in Houston, Texas for the School & Community Sustainability Summit. The Summit is a collaborative effort of the Green Schools Alliance and the Houston East End Greenbelt Initiative. Follow #GreenSchoolsAll and learn more here.
November 26: During the Finland Youth Climate Summit at Heureka, the Finnish Science Center in Helsinki, junior high school students from all over Finland will gather to create a climate action plan for their schools, while their teachers learn to support them, with coaching from experts. It is the most remarkable climate education event in the country, leading not only to learning but also to concrete actions. Follow along on Facebook and learn more here.
November 26–28: This year’s Film a #Day4Climate Action challenge organized by Connect4Climate, Vimeo, and partners. On November 29, at the Global Climate March, people around the world will raise their voices for climate action. Film your climate action, solution, or conversation on the day before COP21. We are heading for a clean resilient future. Let’s make it a reality. Let’s tell the world through film, send your story to #Day4Climate Learn more.
November 30: At the U.S. Center at COP21, an interactive panel of climate scientists, decision makers, science museums, and youth climate organizations will showcase unique and diverse youth programming models and student-driven initiatives that are advancing place-based climate solutions. Learn more.
November 30: Youth experts will also be heard at COP21 in the Justice and Future Generations: Achieving Intergenerational Equity in Paris and Beyond side-event.
November 30–December 11: The Window into Paris: COP21 #EducatorsinParis initiative of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy will be sending out daily digests that include blogs by their staff and teacher delegation to Paris, and information on how to connect to daily webcasts hosted by teachers connecting back to their classrooms, which will also be open to the public. Climate Generation will be bringing the position statements of hundreds of students and citizens to share with the U.S. delegation. Climate Generation will also host daily informal “cafe roundtables” with experts in Paris. Learn more.
December 1: CLEAN Network Teleconference: LIVE FROM PARIS with Frank Niepold, NOAA Climate Program Office and Johanna Bozuwa, Earth Day Network. This session is entitled #COP21 Youth Engagement on #climatechange. Learn more.
December 3: The Young and Future’s Generation Day at the UNFCCC COP21 will host a number of youth-focused events throughout the day, placing youth at the heart of the climate talks.
December 3: In the middle of the day, young leaders will join their older counterparts on the Intergenerational Inquiry official side-event of the UNFCCC. This is followed by a special screening of “An Inconvenient Youth”, a film documenting the vibrant untold story of the global youth climate movement by Slater Jewell-Kemker, a young Canadian.
December 3: During an international interactive video conference organizing a dialogue between youth and experts on concrete plans for their communities, youth and education leaders can ask their questions at the Universcience science center in Paris by using the hashtag #WorldCOP21.
December 4: UN Alliance Call to Action: There is an urgent need to scale-up action and investment in climate change education, training, and awareness raising. This high-level event showcases innovative ways of effectively engaging all stakeholder in this transformation. Panelists will include representatives from Earth Day Network and Connect4Climate, discussing recent climate education and communication initiatives.
December 4: World Climate Project: Interactive Simulation of UN Climate Negotiations. In the Climate Generations Area from 11:30-13:00, Climate Interactive will offer a chance to explore potential pathways to address climate change through an interactive demonstration of the World Climate game and computer simulations C-ROADS and En-ROADS. Put yourself in the shoes of the climate negotiators to see what it will take. Analysis of the INDC pledges will be offered alongside a framework for understanding how climate solutions can and must address other challenges simultaneously.
December 4: In the evening the #Day4Climate filmmakers and UNFCCC videographers will be celebrated at a youth reception organized by Connect4Climate and the UNFCCC with a special presentation by Prince Ea and other guest speakers.
December 6: The Sustainia Award Ceremony will highlight and celebrate the solutions and young change makers that are already paving the road to achieving the SDGs and tackling climate change. Young entrepreneurs will be awarded by a jury lead by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Connect4Climate will present leading industry transformers from their Fashion4Climate and Film4Climate initiatives during the show.
December 6–7: Earth To Paris: A diverse coalition of groups, from foundations to technology companies to media organizations and more, is uniting to launch Earth To Paris to drive awareness and host events that highlight the connection between people and planet and the need for strong climate action; to showcase climate solutions and innovations; to bring together communities to promote collaboration; and to engage people around the world in the dialogue taking place in Paris.
December 8: CLEAN Network Teleconference: LIVE FROM PARIS with Kristen Poppleton, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. This session is entitled Window into Paris: COP21. Learn more.