Each year, a few elementary school students from around the world attend the dynamic earth systems class at the Johns Hopkins summer camp held at Stanford University. There they study a variety of topics, including oceanography, plate tectonics and atmospheric science. And then they hold a mock United Nations climate summit. Camp instructor Turtle Haste says the students’ quickly learn the complexities of the issue.

Haste: “They understand, which is really amazing for a nine and ten year old, and an eleven year old. They get that if we don’t do something, and I’m in the Maldives, I’m going to be underwater, and nobody’s taking my refugees. How do I solve this?”

While the junior ambassadors negotiate solutions, the science campers feed them the science — for example, explaining how the burning of fossil fuels warms the planet, or what clean energy options are available.

Haste: “I think the students’ biggest lesson is this is their problem to fix. Not caused by them, but they can fix it or they can work to find ways to help.”

And, for the teachers …

Haste: “The biggest, the biggest lesson is that we can trust the kids to do this. I get excited because these are the kids that are going to solve our problem, or at least facilitate it.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Center for Talented Youth
Youths Role-play to Right the Earth at Stanford Summer Camp

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...