Expand ways of knowing and relating to the world  


The Climate Education & Community Action Framework looks to indigenous knowledge systems and practices that have long emphasized reciprocal relationships between humans and ecosystems. This A multi-generational approachscope that values sustainability across generations, together withand responsibility to care for and protect, rather than extract, natural resources shared by ecosystems. This part of our work is led by Indigenous leaders  who view climate justice, environmental justice, and racial justice as inextricably linked, so that the fight for justice on one front requires the fight on all fronts.

 Example: Wildfire and prescribed burns in local forests & grasslands

Communities in the Western U.S. are facing mega-drought conditions and frequent wildfires. Students and families have lost their homes. Wildfire in local forests and grasslands is an ever-present danger faced by those of us living in these areas. Many indigenous communities have long practiced prescribed burns which provide ongoing mitigation of wildfire by carefully removing an over-accumulation of fuel forests and grasslands ensuring that these ecosystems remain healthy and sustainable for generations. Another way to tackle this issue is to remove invasive plants from an area that could contribute to a fire spreading.

Fifth-graders in Louisville, Colorado worked with the Open Space management team to learn about the practice of prescribed burns and the importance of removing highly flammable invasive species from local ecosystems to help prevent wildfires. Students helped remove cheatgrass, a flammable invasive grass, from their local open spaces. This climate action project was of particular importance for these young people and their communities because of a recent, devastating wildfire, the Marshall Fire, that destroyed many area homes and left many families displaced in December 2021.


Students introduced to indigenous practices around cultural burning began to understand our connection to nature, to fire, and how these relationships have become out of balance.  With more exposure to other ways of knowing, students will explore and take action on restoring reciprocal relationships with nature and avoiding extractive relationships.