OPINION: Students should learn about climate change

By Charley Rich, Contributor

At this point, most people have agreed that climate change is real and presents a very real problem to the world, though many people seem to gloss over it. Being that the next generation will have to deal with climate change it is important for teachers to educate students on the harsh realities of what’s happening and will happen in the world if something isn’t done.

“You know, it terrifies me,” earth science teacher Andrea Berthelot said about the threats of climate change. “There’s definitely a level of terror that I feel knowing what future generations might have to face.”

Because of the lack of direct teaching on this topic, students have little to no knowledge of how to prevent or prepare for the worst. Students and teachers alike are concerned about our way of life as we know it.

“It’s really, really important because it affects our day to day lives,” senior APES student Yasmin Cardoso said. “It affects the food we eat, the things we buy and the things we do.”

In a poll of 90 West Essex High School students, 70 percent agreed that climate change is a real threat that should be heard about in the classroom and 67 percent agreed that there is not enough climate education in the curriculum. According to a May 2018 article from the news site ThinkProgress, less than 4 percent of pages in the most popular science textbooks were dedicated to climate change. With the extensive amount of causes, effects and possible solutions, climate change should represent far more than 4 percent of textbooks and the curriculum. 

With the looming threat of the end of the world, students should be educated on some of the easy and simple solutions they could implement to prevent it.

“If everyone made those small, little changes it would have a huge impact,” Berthelot said.

The future may seem grim, but through education and action, together the human race can band together and salvage our home planet. It starts in the classroom, though. If science classes have the goal of teaching students about the world around them, then giving students valuable and real information about one of the largest actual threats to that world is critical.