The state of New Jersey is known for many things: its boardwalks, casinos, beaches, and diners, to name a few. Now, the Garden State can add climate change education to the mix.
This fall, New Jersey will become the first state to mandate the teaching of climate change to public school students.
And it’s not just older students — children at all grade levels will be taught about the causes and effects of our changing climate, and, more importantly, how they can work together to combat the overheating of our planet.
New Jerseyans have already started to feel these impacts, from weathering Hurricane Sandy a decade ago to responding to changes in the farming and fishing industries brought on by the warmer climate.
Educating youth about the environment and how to protect it will be crucial to the success of the state for several reasons.
Younger generations will be disproportionately impacted by the problems caused by a warmer world, so educating them now provides us all with a generation more adequately equipped to solve these issues.
Making sure that students understand that there is still hope to fix large-scale environmental issues is also critical to achieving success.
Surveys show that teens and young adults largely feel powerless and pessimistic about the future of the Earth. Educating them on solutions may help prevent these feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and dread.
Since the Garden State made the decision to teach climate change in its public schools, Connecticut quickly followed suit.
Your move, New York.
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