June 17, 2016

About

Earth Force is the home of Environmental Action Civics.

We train educators and environmental education organizations to infuse civic experiences into environmental education. 

In Earth Force classrooms, students lead their learning, address real problems, and develop civic efficacy. And educators are right there beside them, honing their own skills in project management and inquiry-based learning.

Educators first become grounded in their understanding of Environmental Action Civics through professional development. Ongoing virtual support is available from Earth Force program staff, webinars, and this website. Here you will find activities, activity templates, links to videos, and recommended readings to help educators implement Environmental Action Civics.

About the Earth Force Process

The Earth Force Process is a research-based model to implement Environmental Action Civics. It provides a framework for project-based teaching and learning that can be readily adapted to any age group or topic area, as well as to a range of timeframes for working with students. It is a series of six steps that, taken in sequence, guide you and your students to a civic action project that meets a real community environmental need, is of interest to your students, aligns with your curricular goals, and is feasible to conduct.

Step 1 – Community Environmental Inventory

Students assess their community for environmental strengths and concerns using
several methods of conducting an environmental inventory. They develop an
awareness of the importance of taking public action in their community and of the
roles of an environmental citizen.

Step 2 – Issue Selection

Students practice criteria-based and democratic decision-making to refine and
select a single issue for deeper research and information gathering. This step ensures
students select an issue they are excited about and meets your academic goals.

Step 3 – Policy and Community Practice Research

Students conduct research on their issue, exploring policies and practices related
to their issue using questioning and information analysis skills, identifying and
interacting with stakeholders and experts on their issue, exploring different
perspectives on their issue, and discovering strategies for change.

Step 4 – Goal and Strategy Selection

Students use democratic and criteria-based decision making to select one policy
or practice they want to change and the most appropriate strategy to achieve the
desired change.

Step 5 – Planning and Taking Civic Action
Students work collaboratively to create an action plan for making the desired change
and implement their plan.

Step 6 – Reflection, Going Public, and Planning for the Future

Students review their experience by recognizing their successes, analyzing
challenges, reflecting on lessons learned, and identifying potential next steps for
their project. They share their project in a public presentation and submit their
project story to Earth Force.

Independently Evaluated For Over 18 Years

Brandeis University’s Center for Youth & Communities has independently evaluated our work for 18 years.

  • Educators that have participated in our evaluation report that involvement in the program positively impacted their teaching, increasing their knowledge of environmental issues, their use of community issues and student-led projects in their classrooms. More than 70% also noted an increased sense of self-confidence as an educator.
  • Earth Force students leave the program deeply committed to being involved in environmental problem-solving: 91% of students met with school or community leaders to ask them to take action, 84% of students show an increase in understanding of environmental issues, and 77% are more likely to contact a public official to advocate for action on an environmental issue in the future.
  • Earth Force students leave the program committed to engaging in the civic life of their communities: 81.3% of educators stated that students’ ability to plan and carry out projects aimed at changing local policies improved, and 90.6% of educators stated that participating increased their students’ belief that they can make a difference in the community.