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Eco-Schools USA: Free Tools for Climate and Energy Literacy
Last week, the importance of climate change education was formally recognized at the close of the Cancun climate talks. Parties at Friday’s final plenary session ratified Article 6 of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. A huge international victory, Article 6 provides a roadmap for countries to bolster climate change education, training and public awareness.
Climate change education in the United States is not currently well integrated into K-12 curricula. There is a gap that needs to be filled by formal education programs and tools to boost better understanding of climate science, its social dimensions and its technological implications.
By registering for free as an Eco-School, schools gain access to such resources, tools, curriculum guides and activities. One resource, the Zerofootprint Challenge, engages students in a race to reduce energy use and learn along the way. The Zerofootprint Foundation school competition enables students to take climate action into their own hands by competing to reduce their school’s energy consumption.
Eco-Schools USA and Zerofootprint work collaboratively with school districts to provide students with easy-to-use software and social networking tools to measure their carbon footprint, provoke competition and discover a new culture of energy use. For the remainder of the school year, students enter data for each month’s bills and watch their energy footprint change over time. To see an example of the software, visit http://usa.zerochallenge.org/.
Additionally, NWF’s Climate Classroom provides developmentally and age-appropriate curricula to educate students about the causes of and remedies for global warming. Visit the climateclassroom.org portal to learn more and choose from Climate Classroom Kids (for younger students) and Climate Classroom Teens to access lesson plans and activities. A high school curriculum developed by NWF and based on An Inconvenient Truth is also available for download on Climate Classroom Teens.
For more resources and curriculum guides for your school, visit eco-schoolsusa.org and register your school for free.