We need to talk . . .
Do you recycle? Do you avoid littering?
If you’re reading this, chances are you do. We applaud your efforts but…we need to talk.
Each person “doing their part” for the environment will not be enough to address the challenges we face.
Let’s face it, we are all more comfortable deciding to recycle or ride our bike than we are getting involved in local or national policy-making. It is just easier to make choices that don’t require that we work with others. But being on our best environmental behavior is not enough to fix the problems we face.
The best long-term fix is to have a generation of citizens who carry their environmental beliefs with them into the halls of government.
How do we change this dynamic?
We prepare young people to enter the messy world of civic change.
A Process that Works
Earth Force’s Community Action and Problem-Solving Process develops the civic skills that young people need to make real change while deepening students’ understanding of STEM concepts. It’s a six step process where students identify environmental problems, determine the policies/practices that perpetuate the problem, then implement solutions using civic means. We prioritize youth-adult partnerships, project-based learning, and inquiry. A suite of free resources is available at earthforceresources.org.
Our Model in Action
Students pushed for a solution to flooding on their school grounds – made worse by the drought and intense storm cycle their community faces due to climate change. Facing budgetary resistance from their superintendent, the students looked to civic solutions. They engaged the Mile High Flood District to divert $4-$5 million in maintenance funds to deepen and widen the stream.
Students identified the presence of mold in their school. After unsuccessfully working with their school district to make changes, students reached out to their state Senator to draft a bill to improve indoor air quality statewide. The resulting legislation was signed by the Governor in the Summer of 2020. This policy will force school boards to overhaul rules concerning mold in schools.
Students worked with local Homeowners Associations and local government to draft a Multi-family Recycling policy. Prior to the new policy’s adoption, anyone living in a multi-family dwelling had to drive their recyclables to a recycling center. After drafting the policy, the students introduced it to the Stormwater Advisory Committee who agreed to present the policy to the Board of Aldermen. The policy was presented to the Board for its final reading and adoption.