White House Launches Climate Literacy Initiative for Americans

To support President Obama’s efforts on climate change, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy is taking action to make sure Americans are "climate literate."  

Under its new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, the goal is to make sure students and citizens have science-based information about climate change.

Making progress depends on "a climate-smart citizenry and a next-generation American workforce of city planners, community leaders, engineers, and entrepreneurs who understand the urgent climate-change challenge and are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and training to seek and implement solutions," they say.

Numerous schools have been moving in the opposite direction, such as in Texas, where the Truth in Texas Textbooks coalition, wants global warming to be taught as a controversial opinion rather than as fact. They pressure textbook publishers – often successfully – to remove content that gives the impression climate change is something to worry about.

Incredibly, they have plenty of help from ALEC’s model bill – Environmental Literacy Improvement Act – and Heartland’s anti-science curriculum. ALEC’s bill has been adopted in at four states- Louisiana, Texas, South Dakota and Tennessee – and introduced in 11 states.

On the other hand, these states participated in developing science-based standards for schools:

Climate Change curriculum
White House Initiative

To start, the Science Office is bringing educational leaders together to discuss how to enhance climate education in the US – learning opportunities for students; equipping educators with science-based resources; climate-related professional development and training; and engaging citizens through informal climate education.

In the Works: 

National Park Service is developing a National Climate Change Interpretive Plan that guides employees, volunteers, and concessionaires on engaging with the public on this issue – over 270 million visitors a year – in programs and exhibits.

"Climate Change for Senior Executive Leaders" has a goal of training 100 leaders in the federal government over the coming year. A new "Climate-LEAD" course will be piloted in 2015 that educates future climate-change leaders across federal agencies. It’s a partnership between the Office of Personnel Management, EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Interior (DOI), and US Army Corps of Engineers. 

Five regional climate-science workshops for educators in 2015, sponsored by NOAA: will provide 400 educators an opportunity to visit climate science research centers and ask questions to climate experts.

It starts in Maryland this spring with a NOAA Climate Modeling and Simulation Workshop for Educators where educators will learn how to foster understanding and critical thinking on the subject in classrooms. Other workshops will take place in Seattle, St. Petersburg, Florida, Boulder, CO, and Chicago.

There will also be online forums where teachers can ask questions.

Many nonprofits are also launching programs, such as:

Alliance for Climate Education will educate 150,000 high-school students next year using storytelling, animation, music, and video.

American Meteorological Society will prepare 30 faculty members from Minority Serving Institutions to introduce climate-science courses onto their campuses.

Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium, New England Aquarium, and Seattle Aquarium are collaborating to use digital platforms and technologies to illustrate impacts of climate change on coasts and oceans.

There are many others, read about them here:

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