The Learning Climate: International Youth Day
August 12, 2015
Today is International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Youth Civic Engagement.” As Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon said, “In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.”
Earth Day Network has been a leader in youth civic engagement, with our National Civic Education Projects (NCEP) successfully making change across the United States for over a decade. By combining civic engagement with environmental education experiences NCEP empowers young people in at-risk environments to envision, and then create a better future for their community. Climate and sustainability issues are inherently complex and in order to tackle such multi-faceted challenges, we must prepare our future leaders with the skills, knowledge, and passion to create solutions.
In the LA County Unified School District, students conducted a large scale indoor air quality testing of LA School District buildings, resulting in School Board ordered replacement of HVAC units in 20 schools. In Cincinnati, our NCEP project scored an impressive victory, being credited with convincing the Cincinnati School Board to adopt green building standards for a $1 billion state refurbishment bond for the school. Students in Chicago led a research and planning effort to turn abandoned neighborhood brownfield sites into useable recreation space as part of a large community redevelopment plan.
Earth Day Network believes that our youth are not the solution makers of the future, but they are leaders today. They area already instigating change across the globe, and we are continuing to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
Johanna Bozuwa, Director of Education