CALGARY SCHOOLS FOR CLIMATE ACTION YEAR 1Category: 2019, Climate, Current, Grant, Major Project
Climate change is increasingly viewed as the most serious and pressing issue of our time, not only radically altering our environment but posing an unprecedented threat to humanity itself. Calgarians are impacted by climate change as floods, smoke from wildfires, heat waves and droughts become typical. The unanimous adoption by Calgary’s city council of the Climate Resilience Strategy in 2018 is testament to the realization that we can no longer ignore the climate crisis and that the time to act is now.
“As youth, we are trying to improve the future for other generations. We can’t just use, use, use. Buy, buy, buy. We have to give back, and we have to make our school—and our community, and our planet—sustainable.” – Tanisha, Alberta high school student. Students like Tanisha tell us that our schools are generally failing to prepare them to tackle these challenges.
Teachers in Alberta express a desire to teach about climate change but are reluctant, citing a lack of support from peers or parents, the challenge of deciphering fact from misinformation, and concern over adding more angst to students, many of whom are already anxious or depressed about their future. Research shows, however, that engaging with this challenging topic, rather than avoiding it, is the best way to replace fear with curiosity and instill hope and positive attitudes in our students.
In year one of this multi-year initiative, the Alberta Council for Environmental Education (ACEE) will work with 10 pilot schools to build a simple program that will enable schools to directly contribute to the goals of Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy.
In Year 2, ACEE will deepen their impact in Calgary, engaging thousands of students. ACEE will also reach out to other municipalities in a bid to expand our program.