The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) educates and inspires young people to break through the challenge of climate change. By holding Action Labs, ACE helps to develop the skills of high school students so they can be leaders and take action to address the impacts of climate change in their communities. Action Labs are open to motivated, creative high school students who have experienced the ACE Assembly and are ready to take climate action in their communities; as well as youth allies including teachers, parents, and local organizations. Youth Action Labs are a way to get connected and ready for climate action.
Through a series of Youth Action Labs, AshEL Eldridge of ACE has been working with high school students across the Central Coast and Bay Area to educate their communities about the relationship between the food system, climate change, and health. The Action Labs are a place for the students to talk about issues their community and family faces on a daily basis and how it relates to food, climate, and health. From these discussions, the students recognized that farmworkers—their family members—are among the hardest workers in the U.S. and yet they have some of the lowest wages and least protections. While Salinas is considered to be the “salad bowl of the world,” the farmworkers who help to bring organic, healthy produce to people often do not have access to this food themselves. Furthermore, farmworkers are increasingly impacted by climate change as dust in the field increases due to drought, an increase in severity of heat illnesses and death, increase in food insecurity because of rising food prices, and the birth defects and negative health impacts due to pesticide exposure. As part of a solution to these issues, the students from Salinas, Watsonville, and Gonzalez decided they wanted to create a Central Coast Farmworker Appreciation Day.
The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. The Central Coast Farmworker Appreciation Day is a day not only to express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. The goal of the day is to bring together youth, farmworkers, community leaders, local organizations, businesses, and public officials to celebrate farmworkers, while creating a platform for the Central Coast community to raise their voices around issues that support the environmental, economic, and physical health of the Central Coast region.
Check out this short video to learn about the work leading up to this historical day, and for more information or to get involved in the Central Coast Farmworker Appreciation Day please contact AshEL at email@example.com