The Zinn Education Project is teaming up with our friends at This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate—a new book by best-selling author Naomi Klein, film by Avi Lewis, and public engagement project—to produce teaching materials that will help students grapple with the root causes of the climate crisis and imagine the audacious social changes that will be required to address it. As Naomi Klein writes, this is the “fight of our lives.” As educators, this is the curriculum work of our lives.
To develop the curriculum, the Zinn Education Project is convening a group of 16 teachers for a two-day writing retreat in Portland, Oregon in mid-December. It will be facilitated by Rethinking Schools editor/Oregon Writing Project director Linda Christensen and Rethinking Schools editor/Zinn Education Project co-director Bill Bigelow.
The teachers were selected from more than 170 applicants from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This was both an exhilarating and excruciating review process. Exhilarating, because it soon became apparent that there is remarkable environmental justice teaching going on throughout North America. Excruciating, because there were outstanding applicants who we were unable to accept.
Given how little time we have left to address the climate crisis, it is inspiring to know that so many teachers are finding such meaningful ways to teach the truth. We read creative stories from science, social studies, language arts, and drama teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. We also heard from after-school program staff, teacher educators, and retired teachers.
We are pleased to announce the teachers who were selected:
- David Cash, New Orleans, LA
- Flannery Denny, New York, NY
- Rosemarie Frascella, Brooklyn, NY
- Holly Hardin, Durham, NC
- Julian Hipkins III, Washington, D.C.
- Jill Howdyshell, Togiak, AK
- Amber Lancaster, San Francisco, CA
- Alma McDonald, Hattiesburg, MS
- Hyung Nam, Portland, OR
- Rosa Rivera Furumoto, Sylmar, CA
- Ariela Rothstein, Jackson Heights, NY
- Adam Sanchez, Portland, OR
- Laurie Solchenberger, Madison, WI
- Tim Swinehart, Portland, OR
- Patricia Trujillo, Española, NM
- Moé Yonamine, Portland, OR
They will be joined by This Changes Everything staff and partners:
- Alex Kelly, Alice Springs, Australia
- Katie McKenna, Toronto, Ont.
- Cari Ladd, Jacksonville, FL
- Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation, San Francisco, CA
- Hannah Jones, Beautiful Solutions
In the selection process, we gave priority to middle and high school practicing teachers. This will allow the lessons that are developed to be tested and modified in the authors’ own classrooms. And while we sought both racial and geographic diversity, we selected more participants from the Northwest to reduce travel time and costs. If funding allows, we could convene other groups such as elementary school teachers, teacher educators, or youth program leaders—and in other parts of the country.
After the mid-December convening, the teachers will continue to write and try out the lessons they develop. They will get feedback from the lead editor, Bill Bigelow, as they prepare their writing for publication on the This Changes Everything website, the Zinn Education Project website, and for possible submission to Rethinking Schools.
These lessons and articles will start appearing online by late Spring of 2015.