Taking on Climate Change with Courage
My journey into becoming an advocate for climate science education, with a focus on social justice and environmental inequities, is deeply rooted in my own schooling experiences as a Southeast Asian American growing up in the inner cities of Los Angeles. As a First Gen student, I needed a great deal of support to graduate high school and navigate college. As a multilingual learner in remedial math and english courses, I remember the day that my high school english teacher advised me to reconsider going to college because she felt it wasn’t within my reach. After walking across the stage with four professional degrees under my belt from the UCLA doctoral program, I reflect on that day and remind myself that teachers' words and actions have such a great deal of power with students.
When we think about 21st-century science education, we have to wonder whether students are learning about the science needed to address the problems of today. Urgent and intersectional problems such as the climate crisis. Rethinking science education means that we need to ask deeper questions about whether or not schooling works or was designed for everyone. Bryan Brown addresses this issue in his Science in the City: Culturally Relevant STEM Education (Harvard Education Press, 2019), by explaining the generational education dilemma that reinforces current inequitable educational norms. For today’s generation of underrepresented students, we can see that their grandparents had little to no access to education in 1940s America. And their parents grew up in the mid-1960s, when people of color were fighting for educational and civil rights. The current generation of students are the first to have full access to education—we call them First Gen. Until only recently, education was written for one audience in mind. So rethinking science education means that we have to deconstruct science to ensure it is purposeful, meaningful, relevant, applicable, and equitable. For the thousands of students I’ve connected with, climate science and education for climate action has allowed me to engage and position them authentically as capable change agents.
We have to take on climate change with courage because there is no other way. The good news is that if you’re reading this, you are already part of a larger movement of people who care just as much about bringing these issues to the forefront of education. I cannot wait to meet you to see what we can do to amplify each other’s voices and RRISE UP for much needed change.
Access Dr. Le’s Padlet for a wealth of resources
Project Drawdown’s Climate Solutions 101
Check out these resources by Project Drawdown to help people learn about the climate crisis and climate solutions. Dr. Kelley Le will be offering a PD series on Education for Climate Action to support classroom enactment of climate change by leveraging the NGSS.
Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions
Check out this free online book detailing climate solutions and the powerful role of teachers and schools in drawing down emissions and moving to net zero now.
The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change
Check out this free online book detailing scientific consensus, what teachers can focus on, how to deal with skepticism, and so much more!
This is currently what Dr. Le is reading this month
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katherine Wilkinson’s - “All We Can Save” because there is so much to learn and be inspired to take action on. Check out their book today!
This is currently what Dr. Le is reading this month
Dr. Nadia Kim’s - “Refusing Death: Immigrant Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice in LA” because Dr. Kim was my professor and mentor as an undergrad student and a fierce social justice warrior. Check out this book and support BIPOC authors.
Contact Kelley for Speaker Events through RRISE UP
We are beyond proud to collaborate with the Alliance for Climate Education to provide educator lessons on deep climate change issues to shed light on systemic environmental and racial injustices to help students take action! Access the lesson plans at Our Climate Our Future.
Energy Justice Lesson
This lesson supports teachers and students to explore the idea of energy justice through community-level data analysis using the Department of Energy LEAD tool, household energy burden scores, and support to help students take action as change agents on this issue. Students are positioned at the launch of the lesson as the drivers of their own learning, and teachers play an important role in facilitating student understanding through deep questioning and discourse moves. During this lesson, students will engage in generating iterative questions that evolve as they learn more about energy justice and collect evidence throughout to answer their driving question. Teachers do not need to be experts on this topic to teach this lesson. This is designed as an opportunity for learning.
Regenerative Agriculture Lesson
This lesson supports teachers and students to explore concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and regenerative agriculture through video shorts and a case study to support students as change agents on this issue. Students are positioned at the launch of the lesson as the drivers of their own learning, and teachers play an important role in facilitating student understanding through deep questioning and discourse moves. Teachers do not need to be experts on this topic to teach this lesson. This is designed as an opportunity for learning.
I am presenting at the NAAEE 50th virtual conference this year! I hope to see you there at some of the workshops and keynotes featuring some amazing speakers including Frank Niepold, who wrote my book foreword.
Session Title: Supporting Secondary Science Teachers Taking on Global Climate Change Through NGSS