STAY COOL Update / Elders Can Help Bring Climate Change Education to Our Schools

STAY COOL has been reaching out to elders on climate change action for more than three years now, so we thought it would be a good time to summarize our mission and also share an update about our exciting new program focus on youth engagement.

STAY COOL’s mission is to speak for those too young to have a voice regarding climate policies: our children and grandchildren.  We create action on climate change issues in the San Diego region through four areas of focus:

  • Empower grandparents and grandchildren to be passionate and informed voices on global warming;
  • Engage members in educational events about a climate action topic, then convert interested elders into “take action” participants;
  • Activate our base to provide policymakers and elected officials with credible support on climate issues and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Connect the collective wisdom of elders with San Diego’s youth through environmental education programs.

This final approach – that is, connecting the wisdom of our members with youth on climate change education – is a new endeavor for us.  Science Magazine recently reported a study showing that, although most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, they do not have a deep understanding of the issues, and most students only receive about 1 to 2 hours a year on climate science education.

As we have reported in the past, STAY COOL has partnered with the Water Conservation Smarty-PlantsGarden and their “Ms. Smarty-Plants” character to create an entertaining and educational climate action presentation targeting elementary age children. This program will launch with an event at EarthFair in Balboa Park on April 17. We have a goal to find funding to take the program to schools in 2016-2017.

Last fall, we worked with graduate students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) to take children’s artwork to COP 21 (the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris). We were inspired not only by the masterpieces from the kids, but also by the leadership talents of SIO graduate students. We believe their passion and knowledge about our oceans could provide SIO Students with Artworktremendous inspiration and guidance to younger students.  As a result, we are working to develop a pilot project with SIO graduate students to present ocean climate science to public middle school science classes.

Finally, we have recently partnered with Climate Science Alliance’s Climate Kids to support climate education outreach in Del Mar & Carlsbad elementary schools.

Are you passionate about bringing more climate science to schools? Do you know of a school (elementary or middle) that may be a good candidate for a pilot program? Our outreach efforts will need the support of our members to be successful.  Please get involved! Email: sarah@staycool4grandkids.org.

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