Teaching high school kids all over the nation about climate change and its harmful effects—on both a local and a global scale—promises to help strengthen our collective efforts to minimize its damage to our planet, Kate Stringer reports for YES! Magazine. By teaching youth about the consequences of pollution and other factors, they not only learn about the flora and fauna but also about the role each species plays in its ecosystem. In addition to that, youth also learn to be more active in their communities, by getting involved in conservation projects and organizations like the Nature Conservancy, which educate the public, and advocate for a change in environmental laws around the nation.
Students who complete such programs “leave seeing themselves as responsible owners of the local community but also on a more global scale… They understand how their actions have a local impact but also a global impact,” according to Sarah Rubenstein, project director of Port Townsend’s Maritime Discovery Schools Initiative. Though it’s important to teach high school kids to become more aware of the reasons and consequences of climate change however, it is also equally important to encourage them to come up with ideas and innovations that can help ways in which to counter it.
Climate change education has received some meaningful coverage in major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, but these stories tend to focus on single schools or areas, and do not provide a broader overview of innovative climate change education programs from across the country.
The integration of climate change into classrooms and students’ awareness of and interaction with the environment are crucial because, without younger generations’ knowledge and interest, we are likely to miss out on sustainable and innovative ways to address this global problem.
Source: Kate Stringer, “We Can’t Solve Climate Change Without Teaching It—Why More Classes Are Heading Outside,” YES! Magazine, February 22, 2016, http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/we-cant-solve-climate-change-without-teaching-it-why-more-classes-are-heading-outside-20160222.
Student Researcher: G. Gisell Huerta Velazquez (Citrus College)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)