On Monday, October 19, Student Voice Organizing Director Maya Green delivered remarks to the Aspen Institute K-12 Climate Action Commission in their first listening session. Green joined First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Snyder Murphy, Dr. Aaron Bernstein from Harvard Chan C-CHANGE and Nichole Berg from Portland Public Schools in discussing why schools should move toward climate action.
The Aspen Institute K-12 Climate Action Commission includes former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., former Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman, President of the California State Board of Education Linda Darling-Hammond and more prominent leaders working at the intersections of climate action and K-12 education. The Commission aims to create a comprehensive action plan to address climate change in the United States by leveraging the power of the education sector.
To answer President of the National Education Association Becky Pringle’s question about how racial justice should be centered in schools’ climate action efforts, Green said, “In terms of how that looks in the classroom, they’re absolutely related. In my background of being able to embark on a self-directed journey my senior year to investigate my family’s heritage and what race means, especially in the historical context of growing up in Charleston, South Carolina really illustrated the importance of culturally relevant education to me.”
Green concluded, “When you really guide students on figuring out where they fit in climate action and where their lived experiences fit, students are always asking why. So, starting with their lived experiences and letting them investigate their way their identity colors their perception of the larger global issue of climate. I think students will make the connections if the space is given for them to make the connections and they’re really encouraged to value their story.”
The full recording of the Aspen Institute K-12 Climate Action Commission’s “Listening Session I: Why Should Schools Move Toward Climate Action?” is available on their website.
About Student Voice
Student Voice is a by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in all 50 states to equip students as storytellers, organizers and institutional partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity. Through direct civic action, Student Voice helps students hold their schools and surrounding communities accountable to the Student Bill of Rights and prepares them to become lifelong agents of social and political change. For more information about Student Voice, visit our website at StuVoice.org and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.