Increasing access to impactful environment-based learning for all of California's TK–12 students

Our Vision

The California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI) is a collective action network that seeks to ensure access to high-quality environment-based learning for all California’s TK–12 students.

We envision future generations that are environmentally literate and prepared with the leadership skills to restore the health of living systems and communities upon which we all depend. CAELI strategies focus first on the students, families, and educators in marginalized communities where educational inequities and environmental injustice are felt the most. We envision education leaders and community leaders taking responsibility and immediate action to bring about climate and environmental justice and provide resources and opportunities to amplify students’ voices. CAELI promotes bold, aspirational plans to achieve environmental literacy, social and emotional well-being, and sustainable, climate-resilient campuses. We envision a healthy planet, economic prosperity, and equitable communities. CAELI is a vibrant public-private partnership that powers continual positive change.

"As a social studies educator for the past 25 years, and a former California instructional quality commissioner, one thing was made perfectly clear in my work to empower our youth: You can’t be truly environmentally literate if you don’t engage civically, and you can’t be truly civically literate if you don’t engage with environmental issues."

Jose Flores, Civics and Environmental Advisor, Comite Civico del Valle

"I have seen firsthand how intentionally connecting students to their environment strongly supports implementation of NGSS, and boosts student engagement and achievement in science as well as other content areas. This has helped shape some of my goals, including hosting our successful 2018 Climate Summit, intended to support teachers’ content understanding and instructional practices. We are grateful for the ways that CAELI makes that work possible."

Jill Grace, Regional Director, K–12 Alliance

"For education to be effective, it must be relevant to what students are going through in their daily lives. Often, this is related to climate and other environmental issues. If they are able to understand that these local issues are affecting them and the people they care about, then they will be able to connect it to larger, global issues. This creates a better understanding of what is happening in our world, and makes it easier for young people to find solutions to the issues they’re concerned about."

Max Jimenez, Climate Corps Education Outside Fellow, Strategic Energy Innovations

"The next generation of students is so aware of the human impact on the planet. They crave tools to figure things out and are wise beyond their years. Teachers, parents, and environmental literacy instructors have an exciting role to play by encouraging students’ natural curiosity and drive to make the world a better place."

Michele Whiteaker, Parent and volunteer

"I believe that the only way to keep California from burning, to keep Antarctica from melting, to keep the Amazon from shrinking, to keep the Middle East from being parched dry from any water is to accept that we are not separate from our world, we are a part of it. With this knowledge, we may be able to cultivate not only a thriving ecosystem, but a better world."

Lucia Garay, environmental justice advocate