New York City Students Confront Climate Change Impacts and Explore Resilient Solutions

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Tomorrow, the National Wildlife Federation’s Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC), will “Adopt-a-Shoreline” with up to 100 students and their teachers from eight New York City public schools to learn about climate change and its impacts, environmental justice and resilient solutions. The initiative takes place one month after Hurricane Ida battered New York City and two weeks before the 11th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. 

“Just recently we’ve seen statistics that youth born today will experience more severe climate events, including wildfires, droughts and crop failures, than their peers born four decades ago.” said Emily Fano, senior education manager of the National Wildlife Federation in New York City. “Despite this, students are only learning about the climate crisis for an average of 1 1/2 hours per year and climate resilience is not discussed at all. We need to completely reimagine climate education if we’re to prepare students for the future. The RiSC program is expanding at a critical time and we are thankful for the teachers and partners who collaborate with us to provide these educational opportunities to students.”

Students conceptualized the “Adopt-a-Shoreline” idea at a 2019 RiSC Summit out of a desire to move beyond their schools and engage with their coastline and local community. During their shoreline trips from October 12 to October 15 teams of students will work with adult facilitators and a specially designed field guide to explore the coastal ecology of Coney Island Creek, observe social uses of the beach, look for resilience features, and discuss climate impacts like sea level rise and erosion, as well as difficult topics like managed retreat. Students will also explore the structural racism and redlining that caused vulnerable communities in Coney Island to become disproportionately impacted by climate disasters. 

About Resilient Schools Consortium

Founded in 2016, Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) is a climate and resilience education program that empowers youth to help create more climate resilient communities. RiSC teaches students about climate science, the natural and built solutions being proposed by city planners to increase communities’ climate resilience, and provides access to hands-on activities, like tree planting and dune restoration, that mitigate the impacts of extreme weather. RiSC is a partnership between National Wildlife Federation, the NYC Department of Education, the Coney Island Beautification Project, American Littoral Society, New York Sea Grant, and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. It is currently funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 


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