The Importance of Climate Literacy
Climate change is happening now. Young people today are already unable to follow the path of business-as-usual.
The San Francisco Bay Chapter's Climate Literacy Committee exists to empower students across California with knowledge, context, and solutions, within an interdisciplinary framework, to make educated choices within a changing world.
Climate literacy, as defined by the Sierra Club California, means understanding:
- The causes of climate change;
- Its potential for harm;
- What is required to avoid significant climate destabilization;
- Actions needed to ensure a livable future; and
- The key people and institutions involved in those actions.
Our Approach to Climate Literacy
Since 2016, the Climate Literacy Committee has been committed to executing Sierra Club California’s goal of increasing climate literacy in California’s high school students.
Throughout this work, we’ve made big victories. In May of 2021, the Fremont Unified School District unanimously passed a student-led Educational Response to the Climate Emergency. And in November of the same year, the Berkeley Unified School District passed a comprehensive Climate Literacy Resolution, becoming the first district in the nation to do so with funding. They join the Oakland Unified School District, which passed a School Board Policy on Environmental and Climate Change Literacy in 2019. Together, these represent a meaningful commitment to climate education that will reach more than 80,000 students a year. But what’s next? How can we keep this movement going?
Educational Resources to Bring to Your School
The Climate Literacy Committee has identified resources and developed materials to make it easier to incorporate a climate change curriculum within your own local school district or independent school.
Model Climate Literacy Resolutions
By signing a Climate Literacy Resolution, a public school district or independent school declares their commitment to teaching students about climate change, impacts, consequences, and constructive actions. You can take this Public School Resolution and Independent School Resolution directly to your local school board or head of school.
Resources for Curriculum and Professional Development
This collection of resources provides an example of the wide range of interdisciplinary educational resources and materials.
Climate Literacy Advocate Training
Watch a recording of our webinar "How to Advance Climate Literacy in Your Community's Schools." In this training, members of the San Francisco Bay Chapter's Climate Literacy Committee share their experiences working with both public and independent schools to integrate climate change into their curricula:
Do you have a connection with a school teacher, parent, or board member? Are you a graduate student who could help teachers expand their knowledge of climate issues? Have you been reading the latest literature on climate – fiction or non-fiction – and would like to write reviews for teachers? Do you have experience writing grants? Would you like to bring the Climate Change Resolution to your own school? Do you just want to help out?
We are a small and active committee with a large goal, and we welcome your involvement and support! There are many ways you can be a part of our local or state-wide work:
- Sign a letter calling for state support at tinyurl.com/CA4ClimateLiteracy.
- Support the climate literacy implementation efforts in Oakland, Fremont, and Berkeley by volunteering your time or connections.
- Join our monthly committee meetings, typically the first Saturday of each month by Zoom. You can find meeting details on the Activities and Events calendar.
For questions about volunteering, meetings, or anything else, please feel free to contact us: