Over the course of the last ten years One World has built up a global learning community that operates in 200 classrooms in 10 countries around the world. One of the important goals of our global network is to help students from across the world come together to learn with and from one another. The hope is that by bringing youth together to address global issues we will be able to begin to help build global solutions to global challenges.
One issue that is in obvious need of a global solution is climate change. Over the course of the last several years, One World has worked closely with the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help schools reduce and offset their carbon emissions through a program the UNFCCC calls Climate Neutral Now.
Indeed, we were thrilled when the Port Chester School District became the first school district in the United States to work with the UNFCCC to become Climate Neutral Now.
Building on Port Chester’s success, One World partnered with Westchester County government to encourage every school in Westchester to become Climate Neutral Now. In addition, here in Westchester, One World and Westchester County government are partnering with the UK based Let’s Go Zero campaign to encourage Westchester schools to sign a second pledge encouraging schools to make every effort to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Elmsford School District then became the first school district in the US to sign that dual pledge on Earth Day of this past year. The Earth Day event which was run by Elmsford’s environmental club brought together Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Elmsford’s Superintendent of Schools Marc Baiocco among other county educational and governmental leaders.
One of the important rational of the Let’s Go Zero campaign is to involve youth directly in solving the climate change challenge. To that end, One World is working with Westchester County to encourage Westchester youth to come together in an effort to help Westchester County become recognized as Green County USA.
Imagine what it would say about Westchester County if every school in our county, private and public, undertook this dual pledge. If successful this dual pledge campaign would mean that Westchester schools would be climate neutral now not in 2050. Moreover, the schools would at the same time make a commitment to do everything possible to become carbon neutral by 2030.
One World has teamed up with Westchester County in an effort to generate a grassroots campaign here in Westchester we are calling Green County USA. The goal of the education component of this campaign will be to mobilize Westchester schools – educators and students – to address the climate challenge by working globally and locally at the same time.