Who are we?
Oregon Educators for Climate Education (OECE) is a statewide group of educators working toward Oregon legislation that would mandate the integration and infusion of climate change for PK-12 education across all core subject areas.
Our steering committee is comprised of current and retired K-21 educators, as well as high school students. While most of us reside and work in the Willamette Valley, we are seeking connection and input from stakeholders from regions across Oregon. We are inclusive and invite diverse voices to join us!
How did we get here?
For decades, Oregon has witnessed inspirational climate change activism by students.
For many of us in Eugene, January 2020 was a turning point. Sheldon High School hosted the first ever 4J Climate Education Summit, which included K-12 educators and high school students. Students shared their hopes, dreams and fears about their futures on our planet. They implored educators to do more to teach them what they need to know to understand what is happening and ideas for how to adapt. "Not just for three days in science in high school!" they told us. "Across the whole curriculum. Climate change isn't just a science thing!"
After their moving testimony, students had time to gather and collaborate with each other; ultimately forming the student portion of the 4J Climate Justice Team (4J CJT) comprised of students from all 4J high schools. K-12 educators shared their methods and resources for teaching about climate change. Our local newspaper even picked up the story. Momentum was gained and there were plans for a next summit until we all went into lock down for the pandemic.
Even in the face of Covid's emergence, students have continued to speak out about the need for more comprehensive climate education. In Eugene, students have used their climate stories to testify to the Oregon Department of Education in October 2020 and the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS: a nationwide consortium of State Science Leaders) in April 2021. They contributed to a nationwide climate education imperative statement by CSSS. In January 2022, they were invited to speak to The City Club of Eugene.
There are examples from across the state of momentum toward requiring climate education. Portland Public Schools District responded to student voice in 2016 by passing a climate literacy resolution and has committed to teaching climate change and climate justice in social studies and science classes. In Lake Oswego School District, students, staff and community members advocated and secured a goal of Teaching and Practicing Sustainability on their Strategic Plan, including helping students be able to combat climate change and integrating sustainability into K-12 curriculum.
We hear the students loud and clear.
We support and stand with them.
They're telling adults to do everything in their power - now - and to recognize how transformative climate change education would be for them and their future.
Climate education legislation is the answer.
Since 2021, we've been working to gather educators from across the state to talk about how to make students' ideas into reality. Please be in touch if you'd like to attend our Steering Committee meetings.
Does your school have a climate education policy or story? Share it on our survey.
January-February: Formation of Student Advisory Council
March: OECE presented at the Oregon GeoFest Conference
April: OECE initiated a New Business Item at the Oregon Education Association's Representative Assembly (the largest democratic gathering in the state) to formally support our draft legislation
Gathered student and educator perspectives
Organized ideas into draft legislation and presentation materials
Began reaching out to and meeting with diverse stakeholders, including students, Tribes, longhouses, non-profits, and lawmakers
January: 4J Climate Summit