Climate Education

Children are the Future

Climate Education

Science class outdoors. Creative Commons

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) first reported findings that should have alarmed all of the world’s citizens into action as far back as 1990. Subsequent reports continued to underscore the need for urgent action, yet there are still climate change “deniers” and leaders in politics and business who refuse to take action.

On a fundamental level, the most basic reason for this is a lack of “climate IQ”. Thoughtful people can differ on the best solutions to any crisis, but it’s impossible to take effective action if key decision-makers are operating without the facts. And it’s even more unlikely those decision-makers make the effort to learn those facts if the public they serve is uninformed. This is why all levels of society must become educated on the problems and solutions related to climate change and the environment.

Start Early - - K-12 Education: For our children, schools and learning centers must adopt standards of comprehensive environmental education so that we can establish a basis of understanding from an early age. We must enforce mandatory environmental education, especially in grades K-12, for our future generations in hopes that they generate the passion and knowledge to care and protect our planet. The state of California is a leader in this practice, as it successfully established a comprehensive environmental curriculumthrough the groundbreaking Education and the Environment Initiative of 2003 (AB1548).

Join the Low Carbon Workforce: Climate literacy should also include the preparation of individuals to adapt and function to a new low-carbon economy. Workforce training can prepare workers for careers in areas such as clean energy and fuels, energy efficiency, waste optimization, and forest conservation. Companies and training centers must be responsible for providing these skills and services to assist our workforce to transition alongside our economy. A list of national training programs can be found online at the United States Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.

Be an Educated Consumer: For the average consumer, thinking about a product’s carbon footprint often does not get taken into account in the purchase decision. Consumer education can play a vital role in pushing companies to adopt a more sustainable supply chain and manufacturing. Is the company ranked as a leader in sustainability? Is this company committed to renewable energy? Questions like these can inform an audience about the stance of a company they choose to support.

Vote with Your Climate IQ: Lastly, one of the most important ways an individual citizen can contribute, is to vote for politicians that are fully conversed in the problem and solutions of climate change. An informed voter can make his or her voice heard at all levels of government. Our representatives and policymakers must be held accountable to obtain the best science-based information available to inform policy-making. Learn where your local politician may stand on climate change and advocate for action.