Environmental and Civic Education leadership to inspire Climate Action


In August 2023, the coordinator of the Politics4Future project, Deepika Joon, was selected for the prestigious CEE-Change Fellowship offered by the North American Association for Environmental Education. Thirty educators and community leaders working around the world to address today’s complex environmental and social concerns at local, regional, and national levels were selected through a rigorous application and proposal ideation process.

CEE stands for Civics and Environmental Education. This Fellowship is part of a national training initiative called ee360+, a partnership of the United States Environment Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and NAAEE with more than 25 partners designed to strengthen the field of environmental education. A generous grant from the Cedar Tree Foundation also supports the Fellowship. The CEE-Change Fellowship is uniquely positioned to shine a light on the intersection of civic education and environmental education in efforts to foster climate action in communities, large and small.

This diverse and intergenerational group of Fellows represents schools, nature centers, conservation groups, research groups, and other community institutions—and all are using education to build knowledge and skills to create more resilient communities. They represent eleven countries including the United States, Cameroon, Canada, DR Congo, Germany, India, Malawi, Northern Ireland, Panama, Philippines, and Uganda.

For the duration of the Fellowship, which runs until June 30, 2024, the Fellows will receive professional development, leadership training, mini–grant funding, and opportunities to grow their professional network. In addition, each Fellow will develop and implement a Community Action Project that seeks to advance a more equitable and sustainable future. Deepika Joon proposed Politics4Future as an overarching project to realize this Fellowship and proposed the development of the Leaders of Learner Empowerment proposal as the Community Action Project. This Fellowship's focus on civics and environmental education aligns well with the theme of Politics4Future project. Currently, Deepika is working with the first-year students of Leuphana University who are undertaking the “Transforming knowledge: Responsible Action" module. The team is using research-based learning as the core methodology to understand the micro-politics in a school setting in implementing sustainability learning projects. Students are collecting information from school leaders, which includes School Principals and head teachers, on challenges they face in implementing Environmental Education/Education for Sustainable Development projects in school. A significant output from this community action project will be the development of a proposal to address the training and capacity-building needs to foster EE and ESD in school in selected schools affiliated with partner universities in the countries of Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Japan, South Africa and United States of America.

The CEE-Change Fellowship is a part of the National Environmental Education Training Program established by the U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, a national professional development program that has been building the professional capacity of educators since 1992. The program also focuses on building leadership skills and providing high-quality resources for the field. This Fellowship is supported by additional funding from Cedar Tree Foundation.

About North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)

For five decades, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has served as the professional association, champion, and backbone organization for the field of environmental education (EE), working with EE professionals across United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as globally, to advance environmental literacy and civic engagement to create a more equitable and sustainable future.