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Opinion: What’s missing from the draft San Diego Climate Action Plan? Climate literacy.
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Opinion: What’s missing from the draft San Diego Climate Action Plan? Climate literacy.


GormanHe is a graduate student in the Department of Geography at San Diego State University and lives in Mission Valley.

The following was published last month. Draft San Diego City Climate Action PlanUpdates the Climate Action Plan, first adopted in 2015. This plan attempts to address climate crisis at many levels.

The plan acknowledges that humans are the main driver of climate change. It also includes goals related zero net emissions by 2035 and climate equity across all communities. In recognition of the complexity of climate change, and its impacts on vulnerable communities, it is important to include equity and community empowerment in the city.

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The draft does not address a key goal: climate literacy. Climate literacy is shorthand for climate science literacy. climate literacy can be defined as “an understanding of your influence on climate and climate’s influence on you and society.” Individual K-12 schools and college institutions around San Diego County have taken independent steps in pursuing climate literacy for their students, however, there is not a city-related goal related to climate literacy across all levels of education. Individuals can gain knowledge about climate science and technology, but higher education quality is directly linked to equity in education and greater opportunities. The Climate Action Plan offers a timely opportunity for San Diego to set and achieve climate-literate city goals at all levels of education.

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), has taken steps towards achieving a broad range of goals. climate literacy. The 2019 resolution was passed by the SDCCD Board of Trustees to address climate literacy in all educational departments, both science and non-science. In a survey conducted by graduate students at San Diego State University (SDSU) on adaptation and mitigation projects throughout the county, questions regarding the SDCCD’s Climate Literacy goal were posed to professors across various departments. All respondents indicated that they had updated their curriculum to include climate-related topics. 60% of the respondents said they knew of other professors doing the same. The specific goals of SDCCD’s climate literacy initiative include promoting climate science; promoting the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate justice; exploring and expanding initiatives and programs related to climate literacy; establishing professional development and training for educators; and developing links to other organizations.

K-12 institutions in San Diego, along with the SDCCD have taken the initiative to educate their students about climate change. The Board of Trustees for San Diego Unified School District was established in 2018. Unanimously approved a resolution that underscored the district’s support of educating students on the climate crisis. Although the resolution did nothing to update policies, it provided the foundation for individual school campuses with curriculum and extracurricular frameworks on the topic. This is an example of this. United Students Climate Action ClubMuirlands Middle School. The club provides students with the opportunity to participate and also hosts a website that allows them to learn more about climate change and its effects on people and the planet. Topics covered include climate news, endangered species, and environmental justice.

Climate literacy will be a key component of successful adaptation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Climate literacy, which is a way to spread scientific facts and empower the next generation of students, is a widely accepted fact. According to the same survey by SDSU, 100% of respondents agreed students were interested in mitigation and adaptation projects in their district. And, 80 percent said students had played a significant part in getting current initiatives passed. Students can participate in Muirlands Middle School’s climate action platform, which allows them to share information and answer questions regarding the climate crisis. Students should be empowered to take part in climate action and justice movements. This is the best way to combat climate change. Students will be leaders, policy makers, and voices of the future.

While climate initiatives are being implemented across the county at all levels of education independently, climate literacy as a goal in the city of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan is a necessary addition to the draft. It serves not only to educate but also to empower students.

You can comment/feedback on the draft San Diego City Climate Action Plan by clicking here


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