Late Starts, Open Minds, and Changemaking

This past week I was given the amazing privilege to attend the AU Exchange in Miami, Florida with three other passionate teachers.  As we have worked under the guidance of Ashoka Youth Ventures, our team of six teachers have been given a new fire and vision.  We are working on incorporating the idea of Changemaking in our classrooms. As my journey with Changemaking is just five months in, this opportunity was monumental in helping us to make connections, get insight into the global community of Changemaking, and take in the knowledge of Ashoka fellows and experts.  

So today, I want to share day one of our three day journey to the AU Exchange and some of the amazing learning that I was able to take away!  

Day One: 

After getting stuck in Charlotte, NC for the night because of bad weather, we finally made it to Miami on Thursday afternoon!  We rushed to head to our first Exchange event, which was a site tour at Vizkaya, where the CLEO Institute was presenting about sea level rise in Miami. Caroline Lewis, the founder and executive director of the non-profit CLEO, is a fiery, brilliant, electrifying speaker.  With great passion she showed the devastating effects of climate change in the heart of Miami, and connected the immediate problems happening there to a global lens.  Some take aways from this session were:

-To get leaders in our communities to be involved and engaged we must "promote, provoke, and celebrate them."

- Caroline led a conversation about sea level rise in Miami and the increasing tendency of "King Tides," where the water level rises by a foot without rain or storms.  She spoke about the flooding, the damage, and the impact on her community.  But she brought forth questions of equity, where poverty-stricken areas are not being taken care of nearly as quickly or as efficiently as more wealthy areas in times of this flooding.  She spoke to the fecal bacteria found in the water that children and families wade in to get to places. She spoke to the impact that greenhouse gases is having on our oceans, our farms, our food.  She spoke of the reaction all of these effects will have on low-income families, farmers, and communities.  How people will need to migrate in order to survive.  Caroline let all of this information hit home.

-"We can not ask if people believe in climate change.  We have to ask if people understand what it is."

-The power of the CLEO Institute is it's ability to empower and educate all communities through systemic involvement: 

 "Anyone who gets it, gets a microphone."

What This Inspired Within Me:

* My own knowledge about climate change and its monumental effects, and the need to advocate for change within the government.
*Educating my students on smaller scale about sea level rise, and creating opportunities for them to explore and learn about it's implications.
* As Caroline Lewis stated in her spotlight session: "Never underestimate your ability to influence others."

What a powerful way to begin our conference! I can't wait to share what we learned on day two!

1 comment:

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