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The summer of 2023 was Earth’s hottest since global records began in 1880. As the planet warms, global impacts such as sea level rise, wildfires, extreme heat, and other climate impacts intensify. As a result, a majority of young people are understandably experiencing climate grief or anxiety as a result of this climate crisis. They see and experience first-hand what is happening in their communities and worldwide.

Despite this, a majority of students in the U.S. spend just two hours per school year, mainly in middle and high school science classes, learning about the climate crisis. With some exceptions, topics like sea level rise, climate resilience, climate justice, responsible consumption, climate solutions, and green careers are typically only part of school curricula if passionate teachers take it upon themselves to teach about the topic. It’s time that U.S. students receive a quality climate education that prepares them for the future.


In 2020, RiSC began connecting students - who live or attend school in Coney Island, New York and Cape May County, New Jersey - to residents and partners in those communities. In Coney Island, RiSC is partnering with the Coney Island Beautification Project and NWF affiliate, New Jersey Audubon, is leading the program in New Jersey. RiSC is being adapted in Puerto Rico by our partners at Organizacion Pro Ambiente Sustentable de Puerto Rico and also by National Wildlife Federation staff in Texas. It was adapted in the U.S. Virgin Islands by NWF affiliate Virgin Islands Conservation Society (VICS). Through a series of field-based activities from an adapted RiSC curriculum, students are increasing their awareness of future climate impacts.

With residents and partners, they're exploring local resilience strategies to cope with coastal and sunny day flooding, and sea level rise. Read more here.

In 2019-20, through boat trips in New York Harbor and tree plantings, RiSC engaged students in learning about coastal flooding, urban heat island and climate justice. Students planted several native trees on their school campuses to mitigate extreme heat. RiSC helped them to understand the critical links between climate justice and climate resilience. Partners included BioBoat, the American Littoral Society, Trees New York, Kid Power Academy, and Huffman Studio, Inc. which made an award-winning documentary about the program, It's Our Future. Read more here.

From 2016-2019, RiSC was a partnership between Brooklyn College, the National Wildlife Federation, the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, New York Sea Grant, and six NYC Department of Education public schools. The Read more here.

We look forward to partnerships across the country using the RiSC Replication Toolkit to adapt the program in communities facing myriad climate impacts.

The program and this website are the products of the National Wildlife Federation and Brooklyn College, funded by awards NA20SEC0080005 and NA16SEC0080004, respectively, from the Environmental Literacy Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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