Activism Education Kids

Empowering the Next Generation – The Phantom Lake Elementary Pilot Program and 2030 or Bust’s Mission


In a world grappling with the escalating climate crisis, Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington, stands as a beacon of hope and action. This blog post delves into their groundbreaking pilot program, aligned with the mission of 2030 or Bust, underscoring the profound impact of individual action in ending the climate crisis – a crisis that even children can actively participate in.

The Spark of Change: Phantom Lake’s Pilot Program

The initiative at Phantom Lake Elementary, led by Principal Heather Snookal and teachers Samatha Cristy – 5th grade, Karen McGlocklin – 5th grade, Carly Fisher – 4th and 5th grade, Alicia Murrowchick – 4th grad transformed the abstract concept of climate change into a tangible, daily challenge for over 150 4th and 5th graders. The core of the program was a ‘climate game’, turning environmental stewardship into an engaging, interactive, and fun activity.

This innovative approach effectively made climate education relatable and actionable. The students, through daily tasks like using reusable water bottles, walking to school, and exploring vegetarian diets, began to see their role in a larger environmental context. The gamification of these activities not only made the learning process enjoyable but also fostered a sense of community and teamwork among the students.

Aligning with 2030 or Bust’s Mission

The Phantom Lake initiative resonates deeply with the mission of 2030 or Bust – empowering individuals to take action. At the heart of 2030 or Bust’s philosophy is the belief that the climate crisis is not an insurmountable challenge reserved for governments and large organizations; it’s a call to action for every individual. This aligns perfectly with the school’s approach of nurturing young minds to understand their impact on the planet.

The Importance of Individual Action

The program at Phantom Lake Elementary exemplifies the power of individual action, a cornerstone of 2030 or Bust’s strategy. Each small action taken by the students contributed to a larger goal, illustrating how collective efforts can lead to significant environmental impact. This is a vital lesson in the current climate crisis scenario, where individual contributions can collectively bridge the emissions gap.

Empowering the Next Generation

One of the most striking outcomes of the Phantom Lake program was the empowerment of students. The initiative not only educated them about the environmental challenges but also instilled a sense of responsibility and capability. This empowerment is crucial as it prepares a generation that is environmentally conscious and equipped to tackle future challenges.

Community Involvement and Expansion

The success of the program has implications far beyond the school’s boundaries. The involvement of students led to increased awareness among families and the local community, creating a ripple effect of environmental consciousness. The potential for scaling this model to other schools and communities aligns with 2030 or Bust’s vision of widespread individual involvement in climate action.

The Role of Education in Climate Action

The case of Phantom Lake Elementary underscores the critical role education plays in addressing the climate crisis. By integrating climate action into the curriculum, the school has set a precedent for educational institutions worldwide. The lessons learned here are not just academic; they are life lessons in stewardship, responsibility, and hope.

Conclusion: A Call to Action

The Phantom Lake Elementary pilot program stands as a testament to what can be achieved when young minds are guided towards positive environmental action. It serves as an inspiring example for schools globally and aligns seamlessly with the mission of 2030 or Bust. As we look towards a sustainable future, the program reminds us that change is possible and that it often starts with the smallest of steps – steps that even children can take.

As we continue our journey towards a more sustainable future, let this story be a reminder of the power each of us holds. The time for action is now, and as the students of Phantom Lake Elementary have shown, every action, no matter how small, counts.

To see Podcast episode 1 on this topic click here