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Like them or not, here are the cold hard facts. Industrialized animal agriculture, something humans alone created, is the largest singular driver of climate change, responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, and is also the culprit behind mass deforestation, water, and air pollution. We made this system and are responsible for all of the pollution caused by it. That’s a pretty simple concept to grasp, right? You see a problem and the cause very clearly here. It’s a fact. All of those greenhouse gases are now in the atmosphere because of our industrial food system.

This is just one example of a human industry that is driving climate change. There are many others, which we are all aware of – even fossil fuel companies are keenly aware of their role in climate change. We live in a world where 97 percent of scientists AGREE that our climate is changing – because there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been in the past 800,000 years – and this change is being caused by human actions. In other words, climate change can no longer be debated. In fact, it is vital that we move past just acknowledging climate change and take action to stop it before the global ecosystem is altered beyond human habitability.

Despite the scientific evidence, Idaho’s state legislature has cut ALL MENTIONS of human-caused climate change from their statewide science guidelines but left the rest of the standards the same. Meaning that kids in Idaho will not be learning that human actions cause climate change.

The “debate” started way back in 2016 when Idaho set out to update its science curriculum. Lawmakers disapproved of the new standards, modeled after national guidelines and developed by science organizations that included information on climate change. Lawmakers said that more input from the public was needed. Wait, what? Why would more input from the public be needed for what is taught in science? Last we checked, the general public does NOT decide what is scientific fact or not. That’s the nature of science itself, it transcends human emotions or opinions!

Thankfully, a committee made up of teachers, parents, and scientists are pushing for the Republican-controlled Idaho legislature to approve revised standards, The New York Times reports. The revised standards are watered down but if approved, the committee would see the revisions as still a victory for climate-change education. Unfortunately, though, only 24 percent of Republications in Idaho agree that climate change is largest caused by human activities. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, that is the lowest percentage of any U.S. state. 

Idaho teachers can still choose whether or not to include climate-change in lesson plans, but many worry about the rural areas of the state. “It’s these small rural districts. They will do what the state says,” said Christopher Taylor, the science supervisor for the Boise School District.

Children today are the unwitting victims of the climate we have left for them. They didn’t contribute to the environmental devastation we have wrought on forests and the oceans, and they didn’t vote to promote fossil fuels or expand the animal agriculture system. Yet, they will be the ones who have to face terrifying water shortages, extreme temperatures, unbreathable air, and mass famine if we do not take drastic measures to stop climate change.

This is a phenomenon that is caused by US. We are well aware of that and shielding children from the truth about climate change is just as bad as not teaching them to look both ways before they walk across the street. It is up to every single one of us to spread the truth and empower one another to take actions – big or small – to protect the future of human life on the planet.

While disheartening that Idaho is in a battle over the undeniable reality of climate change and our next generation of leaders may potentially suffer, the good news is that you can make a difference starting today.

You can start eating for the planet by doing nothing more than choosing a delicious plant-based meal over one laden with animal products. If you look at it from a personal perspective, you can cut your own carbon footprint in half just by leaving meat off your plate for one year. (Plus save a lot of water, redirect grain for people to eat, and help protect endangered species…)

We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. If you’re ready to start doing this in your own life, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

Image Source: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

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