Environmental Action Civics
Solving them requires cooperation, most powerfully through local civic participation. Environmental Action Civics embodies the belief that participation in local environmental decision-making is critical to equitable processes, innovative solutions, and enduring democratic and civic skills.
Environmental Action Civics is an educational approach where youth work in partnership with adults to identify a local environmental issue and engage with community members to take action by advocating for systemic changes to policies or practices.
A central element of Environmental Action Civics is a commitment to prepare youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities, to engage in local environmental decision making now and in the future.
In Environmental Action Civics, young people:
Learn about the environment within the context of their own lived experiences (where they live, who they are, what they see);
Democratically select an environmental issue to study in partnership with their peers, educator, and community members;
Use credible qualitative and quantitative research methods to collect information about their issue and identify root causes.
Engage each other, their community, and local stakeholders in evidence-based discussion as a means to contextualize the information and deepen their understanding;
Develop action strategies appropriate for addressing the root cause of the problem and, with the support of adults and allies, advocate for those solutions to people in positions of power.
Through these experiences, Environmental Action Civics can help us get to broad-scale collective action on environmental issues while helping youth and adults gain formative experiences and skills.
Recent Student Projects
Students Change State Law to Protect Air Quality
Earth Force students participating in the Caring for Our Watersheds program changed Virginia state law after they discovered and investigated mold in their classroom.
Chicago Students Tackle Flooding in the East Side
Students in Earth Force's RISE Challenge Illinois educated local residents about the need to disconnect downspouts from the storm sewers to help mitigate flooding caused by storm sewers backing up.
Students Draft and Pass a Multi-Family Recycling Law
Students in Wentzville, MO worked with local Homeowners Associations and the local government to draft a Multi-family Recycling policy.