Climate Literacy Must Be Taught in Schools
No matter how much progress we make in reducing the GHGs in our atmosphere (so far we’ve made none), ecosystem damage and severe weather events will continue for decades. Children in pre-K today will spend the entirety of their lives living in a climate much different from the one we grew up in.
There will be continuous assaults on infrastructure not designed for repeated and extreme heat and weather events. That will have societal and political consequences. The more kids know about the science of climate (which is an emerging and rapidly evolving discipline), the better prepared they will be to navigate a morphing, unpredictable ecosystem. And the better they will be at finding and leveraging climate-related career opportunities (of which there will be many).
We know that schools (especially in the US) are not doing a good job of preparing children for the world they will be forced to deal with. Over two thirds of recent US college grads report that they were never taught any climate science. Everything needs to be redesigned for our new abnormal… and that includes curricula from kindergarten through college and into lifelong adult learning.
If you have school age children, you should be investigating what they are being taught in school. If there are no climate literacy lessons, you aren’t helpless. As a parent and a taxpayer, your opinion matters. You can express your feelings to the school’s leadership. If they reject your entreaties, you can double down on your lobbying, and/or you can take it upon yourself to homeschool your kids about climate. And if there are any teachers in your kids’ school who want to teach climate literacy, stand with them… let the school administration and parent groups know that you support those teachers.
There is a mountain of information available. Look into:
And search for other resources… they are out there. In Florida, a state infamous for institutionalizing climate denial (and about to be whacked by a major hurricane fueled by record hot Gulf of Mexico waters), two teachers have launched a website and a movement to provide free climate teaching tools. The tools are experiential, taking kids out into nature to avoid dry text books and static classrooms, and to expose kids to the systemic interconnectedness of our natural world. Check out https://www.authenticexplorationmatters.com/ and share this massive and valuable resource with any educators you know.
There are also many social media platforms (including Facebook/Meta, LinkedIn, Twitter/X and many more) that have groups dedicated to bringing climate crisis conversations into schools, politics and public forums. They participate in rallies, raise awareness, develop texts/videos/lesson plans, and request business and political leaders to act. Investigate them and pick one or two to join and become active with. If activism isn’t your cup of tea, still research them. You will learn a lot… you have to learn a lot so you can assist and support your children.
Include Your Kids
It’s important that they know their parents are doing what they can to fix the problem, prepare for the inevitable climate risks and impacts, and to keep their families safe. A child who understands what is going on (and that Mom and Dad are actively addressing it), will have a much lower level of climate anxiety and will be able to focus on being a kid (play is important too).