August 15, 2013
What an amazing day with the youth at Ma’at Academy. We sought out to test our Map Your Future curriculum, and needless to say we were blown away by the consciousness, knowledge, passion and innovative ideas that these youth (ages 16-21) brought to the table.
Over the course of several weeks this summer, these youth learned about the history of Richmond, CA, wetland ecosystems, watershed, land use planning, changes in global average surface temperature, food justice, environmental justice and climate justice. Walking into the room I found myself not only inspired by what they knew, but the urgency in their presence to want to do something about it to improve their communities. For most of these youth, there was no question that climate change is real. They along with their families and communities feel the impacts of limited access to clean air and water, healthy food, transportation, housing and jobs.
We began by introducing the concepts of “Climate Impacts” and “Vulnerable Communities” and had them map out relevant examples in Richmond. We then shifted to concepts of “Climate Resilience,” “Climate Action” and “Assets,” which had them identify some of the solutions to address climate impacts, vulnerabilities, how to make them better, and think about alternatives. Each of the youth performed a skit on the climate solution of their choice, mapped out assets and identified jobs that would be created as a result of investment. “The skits helped me think critically about what needs to be done, ” expressed one of the youth.
As we wrapped things up for the day, we asked the youth to take action by writing a letter to a decision maker about their recommendations to address climate change, how they are impacted and how they’d like to be involved.