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Minnesota Climate Justice Instruction

Policy Details

Policy Type: Policy
Jurisdiction: State — Minnesota
Status: Passed
Tags: Education, Environmental Justice, Racial Justice

Policy Summary

The student-led bill, proposed in 2024, instructs the Minnesota Commissioner of Education, along with qualified experts in education and climate justice, to develop climate justice curriculum for all school districts and charter schools in the state. The curriculum is to be grounded in intersectionality and science and reflect the ways in which human action and oppressive systems cause more climate and environmental harm to certain communities, namely BIPOC, low-income, and disabled communities. The curriculum will also show the positive changes systemic change can create in environmental issues, as well as examples of frontline community-led environmental solutions. Additionally, the curriculum must be completely accessible to all students, regardless of age, developmental stage, or disability.


Does the policy solution re-distribute power from mainstream institutions to impacted Black community?   

The policy does not explicitly redistribute power from mainstream institutions to the impacted Black community, but if passed, it can support schools in uplifting and affirming the experience of Black people, emphasizing the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities.

Does this policy address needs impacting diverse groups within Black communities (Black femmes, Black LGBTQ+ communities, Black immigrants, people in poverty, differently abled, people impacted by justice system)? If so, how?  

As it stands, the bill explicitly addresses the needs of youth, including Black students. Importantly, the bill is driven by students who recognize the critical role of education in preparing for a future shaped by climate change. The bill emphasizes how marginalized communities, including BIPOC, low-income, and disabled populations, often bear the brunt of its impacts and would support incorporating real-world environmental and climate justice events into the curriculum. By increasing understanding of the population at large, it can foster a space for diverse Black voices to speak to and address our needs. Real world examples could include campaigns and advocacy efforts.

By equipping all students with education, especially groups within the Black community, it can help us make better decisions, advocate for ourselves and understand our relationship to the world and how we can use our skills and talents to come up with solutions. This educational approach not only informs students about the environmental challenges but also highlights social justice aspects related to climate change, fostering awareness and empathy among future generations.

Does this policy provide more decision-making power at the hands of Black communities?  

The policy does not explicitly provide more decision-making power to Black communities. It focuses on educating students about climate justice, which can empower future generations with knowledge and awareness, but it does not directly shift decision-making authority.

Does the policy undermine extractive economies like capitalism and restore community power around a local and regenerative economy/ primary production?  

The policy does not directly address or undermine extractive economies like capitalism. Its primary focus is on climate justice education rather than economic restructuring. While raising awareness about climate justice may indirectly influence future economic decisions, the policy itself does not aim to restore community power around a local and regenerative economy.

Does the policy repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights, health and environmental protections?

As is, the policy can contribute to repairing past harm by educating students about the historical and ongoing inequities caused by climate change. This education can promote a more informed and just society that upholds civil and human rights and supports health and environmental protections. With more information, Black students and family can better advocate for their needs. However, the policy’s primary focus is on education, and it does not include specific measures for direct reparations or enforcement of rights and protection.

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