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NM Students Unveil Climate-Change Adaptation Projects

The health of today's children will be compromised by the effects of climate change, according to a November 2019 report by the science Journal, Lancet. (oceanservice.noaa.gov)
The health of today's children will be compromised by the effects of climate change, according to a November 2019 report by the science Journal, Lancet. (oceanservice.noaa.gov)
January 17, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - One sixth-grader on New Mexico's Navajo Nation Indian reservation says living in an area where drought has been common most of his life has made him eager to participate in a program that encourages students to find adaptive solutions to climate change.

This weekend, Radford Ashley - who goes to Amarillo Elementary School in Ojo Amarillo - will present a science-based climate adaptation project during the Climate Innovation Challenge. Ashley says his project features aquaponics, which allows farmers to grow plants with less water.

"My group chose that because our community is, like, where we have lots of droughts," says Ashley. "And instead of wasting water we wanted to use less water, to save water for our community."

Millions of children worldwide are experiencing the effects of climate change due to drought, rising sea levels, more frequent and severe hurricanes, heatwaves, air pollution, forest fires, and increases in infectious diseases. The student event in New Mexico will include 40 video projects and takes place tomorrow at Bosque School in Albuquerque.

Liliana Castillo, communications/media director, New Mexico Climate Advocates/Voces Unidas - the group sponsoring the first Climate Innovation Challenge - says it asks students what behaviors they think can protect them, their homes, families and local ecosystems from the effects of a warming planet.

She says many young people are scared about climate change because it seems insurmountable - and this project allows them to showcase a specific aspect and present a possible solution.

"This is a different way to talk about it with them that feels really accessible, and something that they can actually do something about," says Castillo. "And that's really what we've discovered with kids is, that's all want to be able to do - they want to be able to do something about it."

In addition to the public presentation, Castillo says winning projects will also be shared with lawmakers during this year's state legislative session.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM