These Students Aren't Just Talking Climate Change - They're Taking Action
After attending a workshop on the issue, these kids made bold moves to address climate change in their community.
A school district in Pennsylvania is making a big change, the first of its kind in the state. And they have a group of 8th graders to thank for it.
The school board of the Woodland Hills School District, just east of Pittsburgh, has taken the bold step of creating a climate change resolution, which will focus on making the district more sustainable and energy efficient.
The resolution came about after Communitiopia, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit, conducted a climate change workshop with 8 th grade students at Woodland Hills High School. The workshop was a mix of hands-on learning and classroom lecture where Katie Modic, the Coordinator of Educational Initiatives at Communitopia, shared some of the science behind climate change, specifically the difference between "climate" and "weather." The students also engaged with kits supplied by the Carnegie Science Center to learn how water run-off from storms can impact communities.
Students participate in a Communitopia workshop at Woodland Hills High School.
After the workshop, the students were inspired to take action, so they worked with Katie to create a plan to implement real, sustainable change within their community.
"Initially, we thought the students would be motivated to make changes on a smaller scale," Katie told Sparkt. "But they wanted to take bigger actions, they wanted to help more than just their own school district."
The children wrote 27 letters and created a video presentation that was later presented virtually at a Woodland Hills school board meeting. The board voted unanimously to create the resolution.
Modic worked with the board members for several months after the meeting to share ideas and come up with the language for the resolution. She credits board members Jamie Glasser and Mike Belmonte for taking the lead and making sure the initiative was completed.
"We felt it was a worthwhile issue to address," Belmonte told Sparkt.
"Our goal is to help our children know this a problem, to learn about it, and then how to fix it and bring awareness to it."
As part of the resolution, the Woodland Hills School Board will create a Climate Change Committee to assist the district with creating policies and programs that focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. This includes items such as increasing efforts to implement food waste reduction programs and creating more educational opportunities in areas such as climate literacy.
While Woodland Hills is currently the only school district in the state that has adopted a progressive climate change resolution act, Moudic is confident that other schools will follow suit.
"Climate change is a real issue, it speaks to us," she says. "I do think one school board in the area speaking out will be a springboard for others."
(Image courtesy of Communitopia )