On Saturday, April 29th, people from across the country will be gathering in Washington, D.C. and at sister marches for the People’s Climate March. Families, college students, activists, concerned citizens and peoples from communities nationwide will join in showing their commitment to finding solutions to the climate crisis. The Climate March is an ideal current event for teachers to develop lessons around. Through learning about this upcoming event, students can grow more informed of how policy changes have a direct impact on their lives and communities, and why their participation in the democratic process is important.

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Consult this list of interactive assignments when developing classroom lessons on the upcoming Climate March. They’ve been designed to inform high schoolers on the important issues at stake and provide context to this political movement. These lesson ideas are divided in accordance with the three tenets of the Climate March: climate, environmental justice, and jobs.

 

CLIMATE

Understand how the Earth’s climate has changed over the past 100 years.

Despite claims by climate change skeptics, measurements of the planet’s vital signs show that conditions are, in fact, rapidly changing. Browse NASA’s vital signs of the planet, and watch the videos, rise in sea levels and the planet’s temperature from 1880 to 2016. Write a brief summary of each video, include at least one piece of supporting research and describe why each video is of personal interest to yourself and community.

Learn how climate change affects students’ lives.

Climate change and environmental pollution is having an increasing health impact on people around the world, including students. Read about either how toxic air in California plagues many schools or how El Nino has impacted students in Zimbabwe. Write a letter of hope to the students in your chosen story and share one policy or program that is being developed to address the climate change issue they are facing.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Learn about how minority groups are specifically affected by climate change.

The Climate March is especially committed to environmental justice and inclusive political action. The march’s Steering Committee reflects the diversity of people who are concerned about climate change and advocating for change. GreenLatinos, the NAACP, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Green For All are a handful of social agencies on the Steering Committee who reflect this diversity of participation. Research and summarize the environmental justice or climate change priorities of least 3 of the organizations from the march’s Steering Committee. Only 1 of the organizations mentioned in the exercise instructions can be written about.

Understand the role that social media can play with environmental justice.

It’s no secret that the current administration resists the idea that humans and businesses play a role in worsening climate change. Read this article on the Keystone pipeline and National Parks on Twitter, then create a list of 10 Tweets on Keystone XL.

 

JOBS

Learn about the state of the coal mining industry in America.

Coal mining is a controversial issue at the center of policy decisions relating to energy, climate change, and the economy. First read the the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Coal Report, then read this article on factors affecting coal mining jobs, and the Center for Disease Control’s page about conditions impacting coal workers’ health. Write a “policy paper” containing recommendations on improving job security and safety, and education opportunities for coal workers.

Explore careers related to renewable energy.

The renewable energy industry is growing at a very fast rate, resulting a wide range of new career options. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for information about clean energy jobs. Choose at least three clean energy jobs that are interesting to you. Why are the job responsibilities or industry interesting to you? What skills do you need for the job?

With the effects of climate change already being felt around the world, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and climate change policy under threat in America, educators have a growing responsibility to build students’ understanding of climate change and environmental sustainability. The lessons we teach and decisions we encourage have a direct impact on current and future generations of students.

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