Amber Nave is being honored as a Climate Education and Literacy Champion of Change.
In my family, I am jokingly called the “life-long babysitter”, not just because I have been a certified babysitter since the age of 12, but also because I genuinely care for youth and have spent the majority of my career in education. I enjoy working in jobs that empower youth and encourage their success. Some of my most memorable experiences in these positions include: teaching an autistic five-year-old gymnastics student how to tumble, teaching a second-grade, low-performing student how to read, and managing the day-to day operations of an afterschool program.
It was not until I started working as a Program Director for the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), in 2011, that I discovered how these diverse experiences would ignite my work in climate education. My experiences have taught me that in order to effectively motivate youth, you have to be an exceptional communicator.
At ACE, we teach climate science that puts teenagers at the center of the story, communicating the undeniable science behind climate change. Our assembly presentation uses animation, music, video, and humor to captivate teenagers and educate them on the science behind climate change. This is the first step in inspiring them to take climate action.
Next, you have to be willing to listen to their ideas and solutions for climate action. ACE offers every student an opportunity to engage through our Action Program. It is my responsibility to actively listen to students, find out their personal interests, and engage them in our program based on those interests.
In my region of Georgia, many students enjoy working on climate solutions that embrace their interests in music, media, and performing arts. After listening to their interests, I organized opportunities for them to professionally record songs about climate change, blog about climate change and air quality in partnership with the Clean Air Campaign, and testify at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing.
Overall, my experience empowering teenagers to fight climate change is a constant reminder of the hope that sparks the climate movement. It is young people who have the most to lose when it comes to climate change, and the most to gain by fighting it. I have found a true passion empowering teenagers to fight climate change, and I encourage you to join the movement. What will you do to fight climate change today?
Amber Nave is the Georgia Program Manager for the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), a non-profit that educates and inspires young people to break through the challenge of climate change.