ACE's 2012 CGI Commitment is to equip a diverse alliance of youth leaders to generate systemic, climate-positive behavior change across the U.S. ACE's structured engagement pathway, from education to leadership experience, will activate and empower high school students to influence their peers and become climate change leaders for their communities and generation.
ACE's innovative approach to climate science education provides the spark for behavior change and action at scale. The ACE in-school Assembly makes the complex subject of climate science and solutions accessible, memorable, and locally relevant to American teens. ACE then catalyzes youth-driven and teacher-sponsored action initiatives. ACE's programs help students tangibly apply science, mathematics, and leadership skills. Supporting teachers through networking, ACE also provides access to the most current climate science curricula.
ACE commits to reach 500,000 students per year with their program; train approximately 1,000 youth leaders each year; and engage over 1,000 teachers per year in the ACE network.
In 2013-14, ACE will implement a nationwide, student-run Energy Conservation Campaign. Building on a pilot energy campaign run by ACE in 2011-12, the new campaign will empower student-led teams to have an even greater impact in their schools and community.
ACE will prioritize serving a diverse population of youth in urban public schools across the country. This focus is not only right, but strategic, in order to build a constituency strong enough to effect change. Considering ACE's scale - 1.3 million students reached nationally - the impact of ACE's programs and partnerships will be to transform the environmental movement into one that is inclusive and equitable.
ACE has the skilled expertise of locally based educators delivering ACE programs in 23 U.S. states. ACE's management staff oversees program impact tracking, school- and public-facing communications, and partnerships. ACE will leverage national impact metrics to show how such initiatives help save schools money and meet new education standards around climate science.
ACE has already demonstrated delivery of its programs at scale. Building on this success, ACE will focus on deepening the impact of its programs and building the will among youth leaders to effect profound and lasting change.
By June 2013, ACE will:
- Identify strategies for organizational behavior change and long-term cost savings within schools through energy efficiency and other mitigation efforts.
- Formalize an ACE Energy Conservation Campaign model that is driven by students and teachers and that results in verifiable cost savings and measurable behavior change. Solidify strategic partners and funding base. Pilot key model elements in Fall 2012 and the full model in Spring 2013.
- Prepare Energy Conservation Campaign for a September 2014 launch in ACE schools nationwide.
- Set strategic goals for in-school engagement, CO2 reductions, and best practices for measuring Energy Conservation Campaign effectiveness.
- Have delivered our award-winning climate and energy education program to a total of 1.8 million students nationwide, trained 2,500 youth climate leaders, and engaged 4,000 teachers in our network since 2009.
By June 2014, ACE will:
- Enlist and train students and teachers to influence behavior change beyond their school walls by implementing the Campaign in their communities.
- Implement a communications strategy directed toward key district and city-wide decision makers to convey the value of energy efficiency, in addition to renewable energy.
- Meet identified Energy Conservation Campaign impact objectives.
- Promote the tangible impacts of ACE's Energy Conservation Campaign and student leader stories through media and school-facing communications, thereby making ACE's partnership with students, schools, and districts more marketable.
- Execute and evaluate yearlong systemic behavior change initiatives across its national network.
- Have delivered our award-winning climate and energy education program to a total of 2.3 million students nationwide, trained 3,500 youth climate leaders, and engaged 5,000 teachers in our network since 2009.
The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) activates a diverse alliance of climate-literate youth so they may fundamentally shift the attitudes and behaviors of their peers and adults in schools, the home, their communities and the global economy.
Climate change threatens human health and society. However, environmentalism has yet to engage diverse constituencies at scale, even though actions that confront climate change, such as energy and waste reduction, benefit community health and financial security. With access to information, tools to enable success, and practical experiences that build confidence and credibility, students can realize their potential to influence and lead their communities to confront climate change.
High school students are a critical population. Around 13,000 Millennials enter our democracy as new voters every day, according to Rock the Vote. Millennials - broadly defined as young people born after 1981 and reaching the age of 18 from the year 2000 onwards - are entering the workforce, purchasing $180 billion in goods each year, and influencing their parents and communities, found Gale D. in "Purchasing Power of Kids and Teens." A recent study by Leiserowitz et al. entitled "American Teens' Knowledge of Climate Change" reveals that 54 percent of teens would fail a basic test on climate science.
Currently, there are no uniform federal or state standards to educate high school students about climate science. There is tremendous opportunity to change this when the revised Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K-12 education are released. However, Neela Bankeree of the L.A. Times cites the movement to strike science-based climate education from schools is gaining strength, underscoring the urgency of ACE's work to educate, inspire, and activate high school climate leaders.
As outlined in our previous CGI commitment, ACE's award-winning Assembly has reached more than 1.3 million teens in over 1,800 schools across 23 states since 2009. Over 70 percent of the schools ACE works with are public and 48 percent are low-income, Title 1 schools. Now ACE must deepen its impact by activating this diverse alliance of climate-literate youth to effect change.