A 2009 study from the University of Southern California Program for Environmental & Regional Equity indicates that the populations most affected by climate change and pollution in the United States are low-income and ethnic minority populations in both rural and urban areas. The Communities of Color Confronting Climate Change (C5) project will bring together leaders and youth from communities of color with environmental advocates and local policymakers to address the unique environmental challenges faced in each project site.
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will serve as the primary coordinator of the project. ASTC is an international association of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering the public understanding of science among increasingly diverse audiences. The C5 project will build upon the association’s long-standing commitments to educational equity and serving as the venues where the public convenes to become engaged with current scientific issues impacting society. ASTC has identified four pilot sites for the program who have implemented successful youth development and/or climate change programs, and each site will receive seed grants to underwrite the expenses associated with implementing this project at their institutions. Ultimately, specific youth outcomes will include: increased self-esteem, higher value and commitment to their education; development of leadership skills, including public speaking and peer mentoring; opportunities to interact with adults as peers; and intimate access to role models (scientists, researchers, community leaders, parents).