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Including Climate Change in Compulsory Education

Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the U.N. climate summit last year, was 16 at the time. Many still remember that she angryly addressed the irresponsibility of adults. Certainly, there were some negative opinions about her speech. However, it is also true that the way adults deal with children has gradually changed since then.

In June, the New Jersey Board of Education adopted the 2020 Student Learning Standards on Climate Change Education. This is the first attempt in the United States to incorporate climate change learning into compulsory education from kindergarten to high school.

According to state announcements, climate change education will be integrated into the following seven subjects, not just one.

①21 century life and career ②comprehensive health and physical education ③science ④social research ⑤technology ⑥visual and theatrical arts ⑦world language”. 

It will also be added to the appendix to the Mathematics and English Guidelines, which will be reviewed in 2022.

New Jersey has many commuters to New York and Philadelphia. Even though it’s the most densely populated state in the country, climate change is already having a major impact on people’s lives, with shoreline fires, harmful algae in lakes, unprecedented storms and summer heat waves. Tammy Murphy, the wife of the Governor of the State and announced the adoption, emphasizes that the adoption is a symbol of intergenerational partnership. ” The adoption of these standards is much more than an added educational requirement; it is a symbol of a partnership between generations. Decades of short-sighted decision-making has fueled this crisis and now we must do all we can to help our children solve it. This generation of students will feel the effects of climate change more than any other, and it is critical that every student is provided an opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary lens.” 

Governor Phil Murphy also looks to children as future leaders. ” The adoption of these standards across our K-12 schools is an important step forward that will strengthen the future of New Jersey’s green energy economy. By incorporating these standards into the nation’s number one public education system, we are creating a catalyst and knowledge base for new green jobs and teaching our children to become leaders who will propel New Jersey forward to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”.

Vice President Al Gore has also praised the state’s efforts. ” This initiative is vitally important to our students as they are the leaders of tomorrow, and we will depend on their leadership and knowledge to combat this crisis. We will need leaders who are not only well educated about the effects of climate change, but leaders who can craft the solutions for climate change and implement those solutions. Congratulations to First Lady Tammy Murphy and to all of New Jersey’s educators who have helped New Jersey reach this historic announcement.” 

The state’s education reform is a message to the younger generation. Some argue that climate change is not man-made, but I think there is no option not to respond if the response only produces a positive change in the situation. The time has come for all of us, including children, to face climate change.

Source:https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/
Photo:ecoist

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2020.07.10