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Prepare students to take on the role of leaders in climate and environmental justice

Prepare students to take on the role of leaders in climate and environmental justice


New approaches to youth education and engagement are key to bringing environmental justice to communities of color.

Kimi Waite, CalMatters Exclusive

Kimi Waite has been named a 2019 Ambassador Environmental Education 30 Under 30The North American Association for Environmental Education recognized the awardee. She is also a Public Voices Fellow on Climate Crisis with The OpEd Project as well as the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

In December, Carson was hit again by an environmental catastrophe. 8.5 million gallons raw sewage were dumped onto the streets of citiesMany beaches in Orange County and Los Angeles County were closed due to this.

Crews from the L.A. County Department of Public Works took two weeks to spray for a bad odor coming out of the Dominguez Channel Watershed. After receiving more than 4,000 complaints, they were able to spray the problem for two weeks.Carson and surrounding areas.

Carson residentsCriticized the slow response of the countyWhen I asked if the response would be quicker in a wealthy white neighborhood, the answer was no.

It smells like this environmental racism, the unfavorable impact of environmental hazards upon people of color. As a response, we strive to achieve environmental justice.

It is crucial to teach students about climate justice and environment justice, as education must reflect students’ daily lives. A transformative approach to education is called Youth Participatory Action ResearchClimate justice can only be achieved by equipping students with the tools to take action in their communities.

I have been a kindergarten teacher and a district curriculum specialist in South Los Angeles. I have witnessed how kindergarteners can notice environmental injustices, such as pollution and lack of green space.

The importance of preparing community members and students to lead in the pursuit of environmental justice started more than 30 year ago at the First National People of Color Leadership Summit. The 1,100-member delegation was drafted 17 Principles of Environmental JusticeThePrinciples of Working Together. They redefined the meaning and purpose of environment.

Environment was referred to historically as the pure natural areas outside of cities, especially by the predominantly white environmental organizations. Environment became the location where people (especially people of color) live at the summit.Live, work and study. Play, study, pray.. This allowed for the inclusion issues such as toxic pollution, worker safety and housing.

Charles Lee, a long-standing activist, was an organizer for the summit, and is now a senior policy advisor for the EPA. He stated that the summit provided an opportunity to make an impact on the world. Exposure of environmental leadershipPeople of color, low-income, and indigenous communities continue to demonstrate their support for the solution to today’s existential climate crisis.

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We must address local environmental racism issues by looking to the community for solutions. This means listening to the residents of the community and using their knowledge to fight for climate and environmental justice.

Another leader in environmental justice, Robert Bullard, stated: The USA is segregated and pollution is also a problem.

He also stated, “People have the right to self-determination and are not predetermined as to what you will be or what your community will look like.”

Instead of portraying Carson as a place that is in deficit, let’s ask what are the assets within this community. What are the possible solutions for environmental justice that Carson residents of all ages see?

Environmental justice is the solution to environmental racism. Environmental racism can be addressed by educators and other community members. Innovative approaches to youth involvement and civic education are key to making this happen.

Youth Participatory Action Research is crucial for climate justice education. It positions students as researchers and prepares them for action on issues of community concern. We need to reconsider who has the knowledge and expertise to tackle climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is not always the adults.

Youth will be encouraged to take control of their environment by having tools in their hands.

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