With wildfires blazing across Australia, the worst drought California has seen and increasingly powerful hurricanes, it is clear our world is in disarray due to global warming.
Climate change is one of the largest issues facing our generation, yet many students receive no formal education about it.
At Paly, the only course where students intensively study environmental issues is AP Environmental Science. Since this course is not a required science class, only a fraction of students on campus learn about our impacts on the environment.
Addressing climate change in the next 10 years is crucial. Without fast action, our environment will face dramatic change.
From melting ice caps to habitat loss, these drastic effects could negatively affect over 1 billion people, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
Due to the lack of education around this subject, many people are unaware of the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, and therefore have a low incentive to take steps to mitigate their individual impact and embrace an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. In light of this, we think California ought to mandate schools to include education about climate change and how to mitigate its effects in their curriculum.
Such an educational policy has already been implemented in countries such as Italy, which requires children to receive 33 hours of climate education in every year of grade school, starting in September 2020. California needs to follow in these footsteps as a pioneer of climate education. A poll conducted by NPR/Ipsos found that 80% of U.S. parents support teaching about climate change in schools.
Climate curriculum should be not only be introduced in elementary and middle schools, but also high school in the mandatory biological sciences courses.
Undeniably, it can be difficult to design a new, standardized section of K-12 curriculum.
However, there are already existing lessons covering climate change such as the one designed by CoolCalifornia.org, an organization dedicated to providing Californians with resources to reduce their environmental impact. This curriculum — taking information from the developed programs by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The California Department of Education — includes a range of environmental topics, including climate change.
With improved and expansive education about the environment and climate change, students will learn the impacts of their lifestyles and be knowledgeable and empowered to become a part of the solution for climate change.