Staff Editorial: Stop discussing climate change and act now

Students and staff should work together to create discussion of climate change in schools

JagWire Staff

With wildfires in Australia, severe flooding in the Middle East, tropical cyclone Freddy hitting southern Africa and severe droughts and heat waves in California there are new levels of climate change affecting nations around the world. 

Seemingly, these events would raise concern within governments and big businesses, but instead climate change is getting continually pushed to the back of the political agenda. The passing of the Willow Project in the U.S, allowing for oil drilling in an Alaskan oil reserve, is an example of this. 

However, as demonstrated through the backlash from social media, there is no shortage of concern for the environment. The Lancet found in a 2021 study that children and young people are the most susceptible to climate anxiety because they are going to have to face the effects of a changing environment for the rest of their lives.  

Therefore, we recognize the critical role that the school is able to play in providing a space for discussion and education on the topic of climate change. 

Specifically, the school is able to help students by clearly outlining the option to take classes like AP Environmental Science that have curriculum rooted in examining the current state of our climate and sustainability efforts. 

Students are able to boost conversation through starting new clubs with focuses on conversations about the climate. Taking it a step further, students could reopen our chapter of the Sunrise Movement

These steps are important because according to the United Nations, education is uniquely key to helping with climate change through empowering younger generations to make informed decisions. Additionally, education is able to help students facing climate anxiety understand that the reality of climate change is not all hopeless, like it is often portrayed on the news. This could overall mediate the effect of climate anxiety. 

According to a 2021 Pew Research study, Generation Z has already taken the forefront of climate change activism through youth-led political organizations and activist voices, like Greta Thunberg.

With this in mind, school should be an extension of this and help to expand knowledge of the topics students are interested in and care about. With these steps taken, when the next natural disaster appears in the news students will not be overwhelmed by the grim situation but will be empowered to take steps that help the environment.

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