Updated: Apr 19
Middle and high school students can take action on climate change in their communities with tips from teachers. Middle school students can help their school reduce greenhouse gas emissions by participating in an Earth Day activity. High school students can connect with their school and community to help reduce climate change.
1. Research the issues and facts about the environment
There is a lot of confusion in the population about the environment, but students can be the change they want to see.
First, explore the issues and facts about climate change. Find out what is happening to our climate. Understanding the facts and what is happening can help you make better decisions and have more empathy for other people.
Go beyond the surface level of climate change and dig deeper. Talk to people who are in the field and receive their perspectives. These people are experts with research and can answer many questions you may have.
You can share our Local Climate Action podcast with students as an introduction to the class research and investigation.
2. Start a social action project about climate change
Middle and high school students can work on social action projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities.
Agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas and can be changed to be more sustainable. One project that can be done by a high school is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by planting a tree and having it grow into a shade canopy.
Another project that can be done in a community setting is to organize a social action project like volunteering at a low-income community, donating supplies to a charity, taking public transportation, and more.
For a full guide on an environmental action project for students, we have a free learning path on climate action on the Design for Change platform here. Here you’ll find expert resources on global goals and activities that use design thinking to solve problems.
3. Start a student green or recycling club
Some schools allow students to form clubs. Clubs offer many benefits, including developing leadership skills, connecting students with each other, and helping reduce emissions. Clubs can also be a fun way to learn more about the environment.
Members can start a green club or a recycling club at their school. Clubs can be a way to reduce emissions and increase sustainability through what students are doing in their communities. For ideas for student club activities that create real change for the community, you can check out our library of resources here.
4. Use student voices to spread the word about climate change
Students can share their experiences and what they see happening in their communities through school newspapers and newsletters. Newsletters can be a great way to reach out to family members who are not involved in school.
You can also publish climate change articles on your school’s website or social media pages. You can also invite local leaders to talk about how climate change is affecting their communities.
5. Plant a tree and have it grow into a shade canopy
Planting a tree can provide a source of clean water and shade that is beneficial to humans and animals. Trees also help remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Shade can also help reduce emissions. This can be done by having a tree that has a wide canopy. A wide canopy covers a large space and can block a lot of sunlight. This can lower greenhouse gas emissions during the day.
You can help your tree grow by caring for it properly. Water it regularly, fertilize it once a month, and trim the branches so it does not grow too high.
6. Have students write to local representatives about climate action
Students can write letters to their local representatives about climate change. In this letter, students can share their experiences and what they see happening in their communities.
Students can also volunteer to help promote actions that will reduce greenhouse gases through the US EPA’s Powering Past 11 campaign.
Students can also attend local events that are promoted by local groups to promote climate-friendly actions. These events can provide inspiration and motivation to continue taking action.
7. Organize a climate march or rally for students
Students can organize a climate march or rally to raise awareness and encourage people to take action on climate change. Climate marches and rallies can be a way to bring people together to share their concerns and solutions.
Rallies and marches can also be a great way to create a buzz around climate change and create a social movement.
8. Start a composting club at school
Composting is the process of decomposing organic material into soil. It takes the organic waste produced by humans and turns it into fertile soil.
Schools can start composting clubs to help reduce emissions. The best way to compost is to find a place in your yard or community where you can put the waste.
9. Take an online pledge to stop using plastic and other disposable materials
Students can take an online pledge to reduce their use of plastic and other disposable materials. An online pledge counts towards your commitment and can be done after school or during lunch breaks.
If you choose to visit a museum or park without a plastic bag, you are helping the environment and reducing emissions. If more people reduce their use of plastic bags, fewer bags will end up in the environment.
Earth Day is a great chance to educate yourself and your peers on the importance of protecting our planet. After all, what better way is there to spread awareness than by getting involved in community service projects?