A Call To Action To Advance Climate Education And Literacy

October 27th, 2014

This Call to Action was originally posted by Laura Petes and Sarah Hubbard to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) blog.

America’s students need access to the latest information, knowledge, and skills in order to be prepared for the jobs of the future. This means continually ensuring that citizens of all ages have a solid grounding in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills that serve as a basis for discovery, invention, and innovation.

Climate education and literacy are a critical part of this STEM skillset and are particularly important for building a 21st-century workforce, where tomorrow’s community leaders, city planners, and entrepreneurs have the information, knowledge, and training to make sound decisions and grow businesses in the context of a changing climate.

Much work is already being done inside and outside of government to increase science-based understanding and awareness of current and future climate change–through efforts like the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), climate education projects supported by NOAA, NSF, NASA, and other Federal agencies, and community-based programs to make schools, campuses, and businesses more climate-smart. Leaders are enhancing climate literacy in K-12 classrooms, on college and university campuses, and in parks and museums across the country. But still, there is more to do.

That’s why, over the past few months, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has been exploring opportunities at the intersection of two key priorities of the Obama Administration: lifting America’s game in STEM education, and combating climate change.

Climate education requires an “all-hands-on-deck” approach, involving not just the Federal Government but also the private sector, philanthropists, schools, colleges and universities, professional societies, non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments. And so – OSTP wants to hear from YOU about potential commitments, activities, and announcements underway or in development at your organizations that support the goal of lifting America’s game in climate education. These may include:

  • Programs and projects to integrate best-available climate science into classrooms and visitor experiences;
  • Tools and resources to connect students, educators, and visitors to climate information;
  • Internships, fellowships, or other hands-on learning opportunities for students of all ages;
  • Events and activities that engage students and educators in local climate solutions;
  • Training opportunities for educators, interpreters, and volunteers;
  • Communities of practice for sharing best practices and lessons learned;
  • Well-designed incentive prizes; and more.


Do the activities of your school, institution, organization, or company align with the call to action to enhance climate education and literacy? Send your ideas, commitments, summaries of your work in this area, or even photos of you, your students, and colleagues working to enhance climate literacy to ClimateEd@ostp.gov by November 7.

Your input is critical to building an educated, next-generation American workforce that grasps the climate-change challenge and is equipped to seek and implement solutions.

Laura Petes is the Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems at OSTP.

Sarah Hubbard is an OSTP Intern in the Energy & Environment and Science Divisions.