Students On Track to Stop Global Warming

If you want to make a difference in the struggle to stop global warming, to what extraordinary lengths would you go? How about 7 days roundtrip on a train?

Beginning Thursday afternoon, March 26th, Port Townsend High School Students For Sustainability will ride the rails to Washington D.C. to lobby for climate action now! At each train stop along the way, they will accept petitions from local students to deliver to leaders in the nation’s capital. Print out one of these petitions or write your own. Grab your friends and tell them all to sign on! 

SFS Students

“Students for Sustainability” a self-organizing student conservation group in Port Townsend, WA has earned awards for their effective efforts on campus and around the community in the last two years including recognition from the EPA. They also helped plant 3,500 trees.

Now the team will travel by mass transit all the way to Washington, D.C. To pay for this trip they raised thousands of dollars, so that student voices can make climate a priority in the ‘other’ Washington.

The students designed 2 simple petitions for you to print out, one petition for President Obama and one for Congress. You can gathering signatures from family and friends this week.

Speak out on the climate issues you care about most, whether that’s pollution, clean air and water, renewable energy, new transportation, forestry and reforestation, ending coal exports; you name it literally, on your petition! The Students For Sustainability will carry your voice to Washington D.C.

SFS students ride the Empire Builder from Seattle, Thursday March 27th, departing 4:40pm. If you can’t celebrate the start of their 3.5 day railroad journey in person with us, you can still scan your petition and email it to me beforehand. We’ll print it for you and take it down to King Street Station. You can also sign the ONLINE petition at change.org. 

SFSAcross the country students can Contact the SFS team before they reach your town to arrange for petition pickup at any train stops for the Empire Builder and Capitol Limited.

Like them on facebook,  donate money to help them pay for the trip, support these ambitious, courageous students and add your voices to the chorus calling for climate justice now!

15-year-old Petitions for Stronger Climate Change Science

“Climate change is the most pressing and threatening issue to modern-day society. Through lack of understanding from generations before us, we are having to fix it. And how can we do this without education?”

15 year old Esha Marhawa from West London wrote a petition to keep climate change in the national curriculum for children in England. She’s outraged that the newly proposed curriculum vastly scales back on teaching climate change.

“Geography… inspired me enough to realise that not only is the earth a beautiful place, but one that is in desperate need of our help. More importantly, it inspired me to get out there and do as much as I could.”

Her petition on the website change.org gets more signatures every hour. You can Sign the petition even if you don’t live in London or go to Hogwarts.

What are our standards for teaching climate change science in the U.S.A., anyway?

…Anybody? …Anybody?

In December, I offered my climate change slideshow to a 7th grade Science class. They were just wrapping up their unit on Climate, so the timing was Perfect. I started by asking students a rhetorical question, “Who here knows about climate change?” 3 hands went up out of 27 students.”Do you know about greenhouse gasses?” 2 hands went up. The teacher smiled politely. And that’s when it hit me.

It turns out “Climate” in our public schools is tornadoes, weather systems, earthquakes, and you know… “Climate.” “Change” is something else. I looked back at the students, my jaw on the floor.

Halfway through my talk I show a graph of today’s level of CO2. A 12 year old shot up out of his seat and shouted, “How long has this been happening? Why hasn’t anyone done anything about this?”

He was terrified and angry. And he was right to be. I assured him, “I’m getting to that now.” He sat down again quietly and the class listened for 45 minutes barely breathing. The end of the talk is an inspiring call to action using examples of youth leaders who are changing the world.

I asked the 7th graders to write down their immediate reaction to the new coal export terminal proposed for Cherry Point, WA. I took their written comments to the public hearing in Downtown Seattle that very night.

Michael Foster reads comments from 7th graders into the public record.

I shared their dismay, their horror, their sense of what is right and good in the public record. These 12-year-old kids who learned of global warming that day added their voices to the growing chorus demanding an end to the madness destroying their planet.

2,500 Washingtonians had crowded into the Convention Center to oppose the coal export terminal. The wildest, loudest cheers of the night ( in fact the only cheers permitted in the hall) shook the rafters as children spoke up courageously, with absolute moral authority, to teach us grownups what is right and good, and what is madness. You can watch the video online.

Back to Esha’s petition:

“Our government, part of the generation who bear much of the responsibility for this problem, intends to not only fail to act on climate change themselves but to obscure the truth from children and young people. It is outrageous that Michael Gove can even consider the elimination of climate change education for under-14s. We must keep climate change in the curriculum in order for young people to take on this challenge of tackling the threat posed by our changing climate.”

Meanwhile…

Here in the U.S., the fossil fuel friendly Heartland Institute “think tank”  has written new science curriculum. Video: Heartland Dept of Education

Kinda makes you want to start a petition doesn’t it?