Why should we teach environmental sustainability in schools?
There have been many arguments about the science behind environmental sustainability, but over the past year, in the middle of a global pandemic and social isolation, we have seen better air and water quality, and less noise pollution, which has reinvigorated “nature”. Being forced into reducing our carbon imprint made a big difference. More animals ventured outside of their homes, and even fish were spotted in previously polluted canals in Amsterdam. This is because we had to stay home, and not make as big of a carbon imprint on the environment. If even the smallest amount of time staying at home has affected the environment in such a positive way, then imagine what all we could do if we all put a continuous effort to save our planet. This is why educating ourselves and future generations is paramount to helping rebalance inventions of humankind to taking care of our planet. There is a bill on the senate floor that is all about environmental science education. It's called S3299, but what exactly is it and what does it do? It's a bill students and senate members have tried to advocate for, to include environmental science in curriculums in every school throughout New York State. Its goal is to teach students not only the basics of environmental science but also how to conserve our planet and preserve the effects of the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change. Educators and students have been advocating for this bill for the past thirteen years, since 2008. They would like it not only to be part of the science curriculum, but to be taught holistically as well, that is to intertwine it with other subjects. This point was made through a webinar discussion about the bill S3299, with students, teachers, and senators. To quote from the webinar, “The climate crisis threatens all New Yorkers, especially our students. Currently, there is no specific environmental science requirement for students to graduate high school in New York State. This means that many students don't experience an environmental science course beyond earth science or biology-let alone in intersectional sustainability-and may leave high school without any in depth knowledge of the ever more present climate crisis or how to combat it. The New York State Environmental Sustainability Education Act aims to change this''. (The Link to the webinar is here) Part 2 of the blog will further discuss: Who is responsible for coming up with the state wide curriculums and how do they determine what is important or what factors go into making the curriculum? And what/who are the regents? But until then…. Be mindful of the planet! -Riddha V. Iyengar