We can all be a powerful witness to addressing climate change at the local, national, and international level. As Episcopalians we are tasked to safeguard the integrity of God's creation, in alignment with actions established by the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church and its Vision for Creation Care.
An example of this type of advocacy is a husband and wife team from Holy Nativity Episcopal Church who have become certified climate change educators accredited through the United Nations Climate Change Teacher Academy - the first of their kind for the United States.
Emma Jeffery, an internationally trained occupational therapist, and Andrew "AJ" Jeffery, youth director at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, an internationally trained teacher on the facilities staff at Holy Nativity Episcopal School, felt called to address the issue of climate change after their family's lives and community were struck hard by Hurricane Michael in the fall of 2018.
Both of the Jefferys are now trained to deliver up-to-date climate change lessons to all children and students, sharing their expertise with schools and other educational agencies.
AJ says, "In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, our children, school and community have been forced into a resilience way of thinking. Understanding our place locally, nationally and on the world stage means we then have a duty to preserve our coastline, bay and rare coastal dune lakes for the world. Educating our children with best practices from around the world will create a proactive and resilient population when natural and human influenced changes occur in our environment.
Judy Hughes, head of Holy Nativity Episcopal Schools says of the Jefferys: "...I look forward to Holy Nativity students significant learning opportunities due to [their] certification...Holy Nativity students will gain knowledge to become leaders, creating solutions for their county, their state, and their coastal historic destinations."
The certification program is free for everyone - young or old - through the United Nations Climate Change Teacher Academy being delivered by Harwood Education in partnership with the One Climate Change Learning Partnership. With over 200,000 users now working to complete courses and over 8,000 certified educators since its launch in April 2019. To learn more visit: https://www.educcateglobal.org/
While the training program itself is not affiliated with the Episcopal Church, UN CC: Learn's vision aligns well with the vision of the Episcopal Church. The importance in delivering climate literacy to young children, by reaching populations who are most vulnerable to climate related disasters and issues should be something we all advocate for.
To learn more about the certification program or to ask how the Jefferys can bring this training to your school or program, contact Andrew Jeffery at email@example.com or Emma Jeffery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above: Andrew (AJ) and Emma Jeffery become certified climate change educators. Photo courtesy: AJ Jeffery