As Floridians, we are no strangers to extreme conditions. Take for example the out of control wildfires that spread through Santa Rosa County in May, or the 160 mph winds from hurricane Michael that destroyed communities along the Panhandle in 2018, or the extreme heat in cities like Miami, that regularly breaks daily, monthly and annual records.

Brian Abramowitz, K-12 education and outreach coordinator for the University of Florida Thompson Earth Systems Institute’s Scientist in Every Florida School Program, wanted to learn more about how to communicate the links between extreme events and climate change. He enrolled in the Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps training program, which provides “training in climate science, communications, and community organizing to better tell the story of climate change and inspire communities everywhere to act,” according to the program’s website.

“Part of the mission of SEFS is to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards,” Abramowitz said. “By taking this training, I can be better equipped in my role to provide teachers and scientists with best practices for communicating with K-12 audiences.”

The Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore, has a mission to “to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.” One of the ways this organization moves in this direction is through empowering passionate individuals during leadership training.

During the most recent training, people from all across the world spent eight days tuned in via Zoom to learn from Gore as well as other environmental experts from the American Public Health Association, United Nations: Human Rights and the Environment, the World Resources Institute and many more.

Throughout the week, trainees spent hours learning about the science behind the current climate crisis, as well as impacts and solutions. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to further their education by choosing which breakout session they would like to attend. Session topics varied from youth leadership, transitioning to a low carbon economy, environmental justice and human rights, green jobs and more.

The session that really stuck out for Abramowitz was titled, “Community-Based Climate Education: Bringing Climate Action into the Classroom.”

“Last year, the SEFS program hosted three teacher professional development workshops,” Abramowitz said. ”As we plan more training sessions for K-12 teachers, we will be even more prepared with resources thanks to this training, ultimately furthering both SEFS and the Climate Reality Project’s goal to broaden awareness of climate change and what can be done about it.

Learn more about how Florida’s environment is being impacted through TESI’s monthly newsletter Earth to Florida by subscribing at the following link: Subscribe to Earth to Florida

Join your local Climate Reality chapter to learn more about how you can spread the word about climate change by visiting the following link:  Find your Climate Reality Project chapter