Connecticut Needs Climate Change Education in Our Classrooms!
April 2022 Newsletter
In schools around our state, classrooms are once again filled with students studying topics like math and reading, and while these subjects are very much standardized within the state’s public school curriculum, some are not. One of the most crucial and relevant topics still not included in the state curriculum is climate change education.
In a climate action report, the UN emphasizes that climate change education not only enables young people to make informed decisions, but also motivates them to take action. It is clear education is the first step towards reaching a solution to this urgent problem.
As a student who has been privileged enough to receive climate change education for years, I have witnessed first hand how my education has empowered me to join the efforts to protect our planet. In middle school I learned about groundbreaking renewable energy projects being developed around the nation such as the Crescent Dune Solar Energy Facility in Nevada.
I then took an environmental science course my freshman year and began my work with the Sierra Club. I petitioned against the presence of PFAs in consumer packaging, worked on the chapter’s social media, and most recently, ran a workshop that trained students to give testimony during the legislative session. It was my education on the issue of climate change that not only prompted me to take action but also gave me one of my passions that I hope to continue to pursue as I get older.
By not providing equal access to climate change education for every young person in Connecticut, we are cheating our youth. There is so much potential and brilliance within every child, but there is no chance to find solutions to climate change if these very children, the engineers, politicians, and problem solvers of the next generation, are not knowledgeable about the crisis our planet is facing.
Despite our state government acknowledging the gravity of this issue, widespread, standardized education on this topic is still lacking. DEEP published a report titled “Connecticut: Our Changing Climate” which clearly explains what climate change is and the many ways that climate change is impacting our state.
The report also asserts that climate change is a consequence of human activity and human solutions are the only way to fix it: “This human problem is going to require human-based solutions. We must look to scientists and innovators to help guide conversation and assist leaders and the public in taking actions to lessen the effects of these changes.”
Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to provide climate change education to every student so that we will have scientists and innovators to look to in the future. We must put pressure on leaders and legislators within our state to make this a reality.
As climate change becomes an even more pressing matter some schools around the state are shifting to include climate change education in their curriculums; however, there are still many students who don’t have the option to learn about this issue, despite it being one of the most critical problems we face at the moment.
Every young person deserves the opportunity to receive climate change education in order to learn how to protect their future. There is currently a bill before the legislature, House Bill 5285, which would require all schools to teach science-based climate education. Please contact your legislators and tell them to support HB 5285 today.
Keira Sullivan is a member of the Sierra Club, a student, and environmental activist.