As Students Clamor for More on Climate Change, Portland Heeds the Call

This work has already been underway at Lincoln High. Mr. Swinehart began teaching his environmental justice course in 2016, and also teaches a geography class where climate-related subject matter has been fully integrated. One of the priorities in the school board’s resolution was to focus not just on global warming but on people from “front-line” communities — the first and hardest hit by its effects.

“With natural disasters, communities of color will be hit the hardest,” said Sriya Chinnam, 17, one of Mr. Swinehart’s geography students, on a recent morning. “Because they’ll be in places where they don’t have the type of infrastructure to help them rebuild their homes and help them adapt.”

Students at Roosevelt High in North Portland, one of the more diverse parts of a city that is more than 70 percent white, know all too well how high the stakes are.

Kaiya Yonamine, a 17-year-old junior at Roosevelt, traveled to Okinawa to film a documentary, “Our Island’s Treasure,” about a planned United States Marine Corps base that many fear will threaten endangered sea species and coral reefs. She interviewed residents — some in their nineties — who have organized protests to block construction of the project.

“It’s a really emotional thing for the Islander community,” Kaiya said.

Akash, the student whose relatives lost their home to a cyclone in Fiji, said he wished some of his friends felt the same urgency about climate change that he did. “If where they’re from was disappearing,”

Read More At The New York Times

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