New Jersey will become the first state in the nation to introduce a climate change curriculum into public schools starting this year.

Source: ABC News/YouTube

The state’s board of education first adopted the new standards in 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was pushed back until now. Now, with educators and districts prepared, the lesson plans for all students in K-12 will begin. The state has also launched the New Jersey Climate Change Education Hub, which helps teachers access lesson plans and educational videos.

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, who spearheaded the initiative, told ABC News Live, “Climate change is becoming a real reality,” she said. “The districts themselves are able to design whatever it is that the way they want to implement and interpret this new education standard.”

The lessons will focus on climate change, and how it has altered the planet and contributed to natural disasters. Lessons will also explore how climate change has impacted public health and society. They will also introduce students to careers in climate change.

“You can look around the world, whether it’s Pakistan that has a third of the country under water right now, or wildfires raging across the United States, and droughts in Asia,” said Murphy. “Here in our own backyard in New Jersey, we have our own challenges. Whether it’s sea level rise or microburst or algae blooms.”

“I want to make sure that the next generation of students and those who come after have the skill set necessary to be able to win and succeed at the incredible jobs that are going to be available as we all shift towards a greener economy,” said Murphy.

Murphy said they have already gotten amazing feedback from educators and are looking forward to watching the program develop.

Despite the suffering animals, the melting Arctic ice caps, the increase in wildfires, and all the other evidence, the United States is the leading developed country when it comes to climate change denial. All the evidence points to it being real. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says: “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

With this much denial, it’s clear we need more education on the matter. Recently, Italy added climate change to the curriculum in schools. The United States should do the same! Advanced industrialized nations, including the United States, are responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

For more school and climate change news, learn more about Italy and New Zealand’s climate change curriculum.

Sign this petition to urge the United States to make climate change and sustainability a part of the curriculum in schools!

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