LAKE WORTH, Fla. — Local students and teachers at Lake Worth High School are part of a pilot program, involving a collaboration between EcoRise and AT&T. It’s an effort to bring localized climate resilience tools to classrooms in South Florida. The interactive map meshes climate change with socioeconomic vulnerability.
“My favorite part was learning how climate change can affect our community and how each and every neighborhood is different, like the higher wind speeds and more flooding in each neighborhood,” said Sonia Antonio, a student at Lake Worth High School.
Students and teachers are part of the pilot program involving geographic information system mapping and visualization programs.
“The whole goal is to create a more climate resilient awareness for the student body,” said Caleb Rice, a teacher at Lake Worth High School.
“It allows them to take a look at climate change in context of their community. Specifically to neighborhood by neighborhood the impact it will have,” said Erik Johnson, a teacher at Lake Worth High School. “One of the ultimate goals of this is to kind of build student engagement with the community on how to mitigate these climate risks.
Students said they took in-depth looks at areas in Palm Beach County, including around Lake Worth High School, Pahokee, and Lake Worth Beach.
“I think it’s really important for everyone to learn about this. Because I didn’t know about this before,” said Chelsea Louis, a student.
“When we looked at where we live, how it could effect us, my family and the future, we really started to understand and grasp the situation,” said Michael Torres, a student.
“Florida is prime spot for hurricanes as well,” explained Rice. “Seeing some of those projections is really informative for the students living in the areas…A map with overlays showing socioeconomic vulnerability and some other factors in regards to climate resiliency, such as windspeed projection for the next 50 years, inland flooding projections for the next 50 years, and coastal flooding.”
The end goal? Perhaps getting kids to engage with local governments.
“Looking at Lake Worth Beach for example. what are they doing about sustainability? What are their steps to combat climate change?” said Johnson “The goal is to have the students perhaps even propose their suggestions to how we can mitigate the risks.”
The hope is that the pilot program gets incorporated to more schools and classes after getting flushed out.