Sunday, June 09, 2019

US Teen Climate Activist Takes Aim at Textbooks - and Presidential Debates

‘My generation knows that climate change will be the biggest problem we’ll have to face,’ said student climate activist Alexandria Villasenor. (Photograph Credit:  Sarah BlesenER/The Washington Post/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.Better climate change education is needed in schools - and it's time for the U.S. presidential election debates to take up the topic too, she says.

Alexandria Villasenor, a 14-year-old activist who has become one of the U.S. faces of the global youth climate movement, is outraged at how little U.S. students learn about climate change.

Next Friday, she plans to launch a global non-profit called Earth Uprising, demanding schools and teachers around the globe dedicate more resources to teaching about climate change and threats it presents.

Today, only about 37 of 50 U.S. states, plus Washington D.C., have adopted science education guidelines that include teaching that climate change is largely a result of human activity, according to the National Center for Science Education.

Better education, Villasenor hopes, will fuel a growing global youth movement to demand rapid action on the threat.

"We have to get more people involved in climate activism," she said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation at her home.

Action on climate threats will "grow once there's more climate education, because you can't argue with science and facts", she said.

In particular, she hopes the Earth Uprising project, which will have ambassadors in more than 50 countries, will create and put into teachers' hands a combined curriculum on climate science - and how past civil movements have succeeded.

The project can be "the gateway to bringing people who've never been involved in activism into the movement", she said.

The New York City teenager gained national prominence after she began skipping school each Friday, starting last December, to sit on a bench in front of the United Nations headquarters and demand action on climate change.

She was among the teens who helped organize an international youth rally on climate change in March that saw hundreds skipping school in Washington D.C. and thousands more in about 45 other states.

The protest movement, launched by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, has now spread around the world, to nations from Australia to Uganda.

Teens say climate action cannot come fast enough.

Read more at US Teen Climate Activist Takes Aim at Textbooks - and Presidential Debates

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