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Camp Eco.Logic steps in where Texas school curricula fail students.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of our friends will recognize the name of Rozina Kanchwala. During her time as a policy analyst with Solar San Antonio from 2012 and 2014 (since absorbed by Build San Antonio Green) she brought an infectious energy to her community work. Less known, perhaps, is that it was during this time that she first lifted up a vision for youth climate education that became Camp Eco.Logic. That vision has since benefited from years of careful nurturing. After we saw the upcoming Eco.Logic program, we invited her to deliver a personal invitation to youth who have been betrayed by our educational system. We encourage you to pass it along.
To say climate education in this country is inadequate is an understatement. We are witnessing grave attempts at undermining climate education in schools including the deliberate attempts to remove references to human-caused climate change in science lessons and the distribution of factually inaccurate materials to teachers.
Texas recently earned another “F” for curriculum standards that either ignore or underplay the significance of human-caused climate change.
Apart from these targeted campaigns to threaten climate education, many teachers simply do not have the resources to support climate change education in their classrooms. A recent report in Science found that only 30 percent of middle school and 45 percent of high school teachers understand the extent of the scientific consensus of climate change. Thirty percent of the educators who do teach about climate change do so inaccurately by claiming that global warming is naturally caused.
Where does this leave the youth who are inheriting a warming world?
It is clear that young people are mobilizing and demanding climate action. Fridays for Future is an example of an international youth-led movement with demands to keep the earth at a livable temperature.
Many youth have found an outlet through activism, where they participate in strikes every Friday to walk out of school, schools that are not teaching climate education commensurate with the scale of the challenge. These strikes are a way for youth to demand that their leaders take action.
Many youth are also burdened by climate anxiety or climate-related depression. The anxieties related to knowing that climate change is real and having consequences on their lives today and remaking the world before them are amplified by the failures of governments to respond appropriately. When schools do not provide outlets to express this anxiety, let alone adequate education, youth are left feeling hopeless with what they can do.
Fortunately, there are programs targeting teachers to provide them resources to effectively teach about climate education in their classrooms. (See Our Climate Our Future, for instance.) Youth can also create their own resources through environmental clubs or other other engaging efforts that focus on solutions.
While we work towards moving the needle on comprehensive climate education in schools, we must leverage the resources that exist now to empower teachers and students to join the climate movement.
Camp Eco.Logic is one such example of a program designed to educate the youth in fun and engaging ways so they can learn from each other, learn from environmental experts and practitioners, and come up with solutions they can work to implement in their communities. This December break, Camp Eco.Logic has a Deep Dive virtual program focused on “Resilient and Equitable Food Systems.” The holiday season now upon us is marked by food traditions—a great way for students to think deeply about their connections to food, the life cycle of food products, food accessibility, and food waste.
Students interested in a deep dive of food topics who are also looking to meet new people and work on climate solutions should check out this program!
Rozina Kanchwala is an energy and environmental professional with 15 years of global academic and work experience. She is the founder and executive director of Eco.Logic, an education, arts, and community building nonprofit that works to inspire environmental action. She also serves as the director of energy justice partnerships at the Clean Energy Leadership Institute.