Climate change, a primarily man-made phenomenon, is the most important issue of our time. More than that, it is an existential threat to humanity. The disastrous consequences of climate change span from the extinction of entire species to more frequent and devastating natural disasters. Even with widespread negative impacts like these, the US education system is failing to address climate change. This has and continues to lead to increased climate denial and a lack of progress towards appropriately addressing climate change.
The US education system is not listening to the voices of its teachers and parents. According to NPR, 84 percent of parents and 86 percent of teachers believe that schools should teach about climate change. In reality, only 42 percent of parents actually talk to their children about climate issues and only 42 percent of teachers actually educate their students about the issue. Worse, included in that statistic are teachers who misinform their students about the causes and impacts of climate change.
A nationwide survey of 1,500 middle and high school science teachers found that nearly two-thirds of educators were not using scientific evidence to teach their students about climate change. The study also found that 33 percent of teachers either misinformed students about the causes of climate change or avoided the causes entirely. Through withholding information or misinforming students about the havoc and stress that climate change will inflict on them, the school system is hindering the country from finding a solution to this existential crisis. The absence of proper education about climate change is possibly the principal reason why there is little change in confronting this phenomenon.
Education is the only way to end climate denial. That is why organizations that fight to educate and empower youths, like Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), are so essential. These organizations provide youths a voice and, in turn, ensures a more sustainable future for generations to come.
This article is a part of Youth Think Climate (YTC): Edition 1, an entirely youth-led digital magazine presented by ACE that amplifies the voices of the youth climate movement. The magazine seeks to recognize the importance of youth climate action, even during a global pandemic and time of isolation. You can read the entire first issue here.
Want to read more? Check out the ACE Blog.
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