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Schools Chancellor David C. Banks Brings Schoolwide Climate Action Days to All New York City Public Schools

  • Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2023

New York City, NY – Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today announced the beginning of Climate Action Days in all schools across New York City. Students, staff, and families will have the opportunity to take part in climate actions that showcase the importance of climate education and sustainability practices directly in the classroom. As the next generation of leaders, every New York City student should have the opportunity to grapple with these issues and engage in creative learning and problem solving. This initiative follows through on a commitment Mayor Adams made earlier this year in PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done, New York City’s long-term strategic climate plan and comes at the end of Climate Week.

The four 2023-24 Climate Action Days will each center around a different theme: 

  • Wednesday, December 6: Energy
  • Wednesday, February 7: Waste
  • Wednesday, April 17: Health, Wellness, and Green Space
  • Wednesday, June 12: Water

“As we prepare our young people to enter the workforce of tomorrow, we must ensure they are ready to tackle and reckon with the climate crisis that is already impacting our city,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “The launch of Climate Action Days will put sustainability and climate education at the center of our classrooms, and help our students prepare to inherit our city.” 

“These rich and dynamic learning experiences will advance our PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done goals of implementing climate education in our public schools. In a world of increasing climate impacts, our youth must be endowed with every opportunity to lead on climate action - at schools, in their communities, and through their future professions as climate scientists, policy advisors, urban planners, and more - and the action days will empower them and their teachers to help us realize a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient city,” said Victoria Cerullo, Acting Executive Director, Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice.

With the support of the Office of Energy & Sustainability, New York City Public Schools is providing comprehensive resources for schools to participate in Climate Action Days. Resources will include lesson plan ideas, schoolwide activities with step-by-step instructions, and relevant resources from partner community-based organizations that schools may use. These resources are compiled in a “Climate Action Day Guide” developed by a group of teachers and administrators on the Climate Education Leadership Team. It will also be the basis for full-day trainings for representatives from all schools to attend in October.

This announcement follows on a range of initiatives spearheaded by New York City Public Schools to respond to the climate crisis. These include reducing of greenhouse gas emissions through solar installations and energy efficiency upgrades to facilities, connecting students to green jobs through Career Connected Learning, expanding curbside composting to all schools by 2024, and building teacher, staff and student coalitions to promote sustainability.