Students – Colorado Youth are forming a Colorado Youth Climate Council! If you want to get involved, contact Caroline Petterson or Marie Venner. marie (at) rapidshift.net
NASA has great resources for kids. https://climatekids.nasa.gov/review/how-to-help/ There are also lots of simple, everyday things students can do personally to help mitigate greenhouse gases, but what if they want to get involved on the policy side of things? Whether local, state, national or even international, the suggestions below are a great way to get involved with larger policy initiatives:
- Work with a group focused on climate changeThe number of nonprofits dedicated to lessening climate change has grown tremendously in the last decade, and students can find a range of options to suit their interests. 350 is a national organization focused on stopping the use of fossil fuels and, instead, promoting renewables. In addition to hosting the International Day of Climate Action, the group is also hosting a global satellite art project concentrated on climate change. Another great option is the Power Shift Network, a youth-led organization that holds regular rallies in Washington D.C. and throughout the nation.
- Join a coalitionEven if you don’t work as a scientist or policy maker, that doesn’t mean your voice is ineffective. One good way to voice concerns is by joining a coalition. Groups like Blue Green Alliance are comprised of labor and environmental organizations dedicated to increasing the number of green jobs, while Apollo Alliance is comprised of business, community, environmental, and labor leaders pushing for a quick move to clean energy. Meanwhile, the American Clean Energy Agenda is made up of state and local groups working towards using more renewable sources.
- Host a free climate reality presentationThe Climate Reality Project is getting the word out about the seriousness of climate change by hosting free presentations from trained climate reality leaders who can talk about what’s happening to the earth and what we can do to diminish the effects. Students can check to see if a talk is happening near them; if not, they can host one free of charge.
- Get in touch with your local and national politiciansChange happens when constituents make their concerns heard en masse. If you’re unhappy with how your city or state is responding to climate change, use your voice and your vote to influence change. Even if it isn’t an election year, you can still call and write your representatives regularly to let them know where you stand on the issue, and about any bills being considered specifically.
- Take part in a climate campaignOrganizations like the Earth Day Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Greenpeace International, and the Sierra Club all have ongoing campaigns that students can join and support. The Sierra Club even has one specific to learners, known as the Sierra Student Coalition.
If you want to get even more involved, many colleges throughout the U.S. now offer climate change-related degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels to help students become change-makers after graduation. Examples include:
- Ecosystems and Human ImpactStony Brook University in New York provides this interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program for students who want to address the complex factors that contribute to climate change. Some of the unique courses offered in this program include preservation and restoration of ecosystems, sustainable natural resources, and global environmental politics.
- Climate and Space SciencesThe University of Michigan’s College of Engineering is home to this integrated Ph.D. program that provides a comprehensive study of atmospheric, planetary, and space sciences before moving into more specialized study. Some of the coursework students can expect to encounter includes planetary atmospheres, cloud and precipitation processes, and advanced fluid dynamics.
- Climate and SocietyColumbia University offers this year-long master’s degree for individuals who want to understand how they can be a change agent against the impacts of climate change. As an interdisciplinary program, Columbia’s offering combines studies in areas of earth engineering, political science, economics, international relations, and earth sciences to create a comprehensive plan of study.
- Climate Science and SolutionsThis 18-month master’s program at Northern Arizona University focuses on the intersection of science and policy and was developed for individuals who want to fight against global warming. Coursework covers the management of greenhouse gases, global environments, and the economics of natural resources. It also includes a field experience component.
- Climate Change StudiesThe University of Montana launched this baccalaureate program in 2009 as the first in the nation of its kind. Students study the science behind climate change before delving into additional coursework related to ethics and policy. A minor is also available. Coursework includes studies in paleoclimatology, global cycles and climate, and the environment of the Mekong Delta.
- Climate SciencesThe Scripps Institution for Oceanography offers this Ph.D. for anyone who wants to dig into the chemical, dynamical, and physical interactions of things such as the atmosphere, ice, land, oceans, and marine biospheres. Examples of current student research includes interannual climate variability, the physics of El Niño, air-sea interactions, and climate theory.
Climate Change Terms You Should Know
When it comes to climate change, a lot of terms are used to discuss issues and solutions. These are some of the more common terms that might be tossed around when discussing environmental issues on campus and beyond.
Global average temperature (GTA)
Climate Change & Sustainability Resources
A roundup of resources to help you learn more about climate change and sustainability, and where and how to get involved as a change-maker:
- America Recycles DayEach year on November 15, thousands of college students host recycling days on their college campuses. If you want to host one at your school, ARD can help you organize and register an event.
- How to Become a Climate Change ActivistThis 2015 interview with the Director of Programs at the National Resources Defense Council is a must-read for any student looking to make a difference on their campus and in the world.
- Campus EcoLeader CertificationThe National Wildlife Federation provides a comprehensive training and certification program for students who want to take concrete steps in addressing the issue of climate change on their campus.
- International Student Environmental CoalitionISEC is a network of students from 30 countries who work together to unite students in the battle against climate change, mobilize others, and challenge the notion that sustainability can only happen when the government acts.
- Make It a Reality ToolkitThe Climate Reality Project provides this action kit for students who want to teach others about the basics of climate change, be able to answer common questions, engage leaders, and leverage social media to bring awareness.
- Student Activism Resource CenterThe Education Action Board offers a range of tools and resources to help train students on how to be activists. The organization also has an active student affairs forum where learners can compare notes and encourage one another.
- Student Project on Changing Campus CultureGraduate students at the University of Utah decided to take it on themselves to research and develop a plan to help their fellow students take small steps to mitigate climate change. Their findings and conclusions are a great read for anyone looking to change campus culture.
- Student Groups on CampusLots of colleges now have student groups focused on issues like sustainability, climate change, and recycling and provide numerous opportunities to enact change at school. Harvard University provides just one example of the types of clubs a student might encounter.
- Global Climate Change WeekTaking place during the second week of October each year, this is a great opportunity to get involved and encourage others to do the same. The group offers a whole page devoted to students, with helpful ideas of things to plan around campus. Examples include petitions, movie nights, public panels, and divestment campaigns.
- Go Fossil FreeThis national organization provides a toolkit for students who want to hold a divestment campaign at their college or university.