Climate change has long been a global issue, but it was recently thrust into the spotlight when young environmental activist Greta Thunberg initiated a worldwide school strike climate movement that fast became viral.
The strike has urged teachers and parents to realise that children should be learning more about the environment, the impact of climate change and global warming.
A new NPR/Ipsos poll revealed that over 80 percent of parents in the US support the teaching of climate change.
It didn’t matter if they were Democrats or Republications either, as two-thirds of Republicans and 9 in 10 Democrats agree that the subject should be taught in school.
NPR/Ipsos also completed a nationally representative survey of around 500 teachers to gauge their views on the subject.
The survey found that teachers are also overwhelmingly supportive of teaching climate change in schools, as 86 percent of them agree that it should be taught.
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According to KQED News, “These polls are among the first to gauge public and teacher opinion on how climate change should be taught to the generation that in the coming years will face its intensifying consequences: children.”
Despite the results of the poll, there appears to be a disconnect. While many schools participated in Earth Day on Monday, “most teachers aren’t actually talking about climate change in their classrooms. And fewer than half of parents have discussed the issue with their children.”
Apparently, over half of the surveyed teachers said they “do not cover climate change in their own classrooms or even talk to their students about it,” while two-thirds said it’s because it’s outside their subject area.
The remaining third said that when it comes to teaching climate change, they were concerned about parent complaints.
NPR put together a call out to teachers in response to the poll answers to find out more about how they teach climate change, stating that “some teachers we heard from mentioned the divisiveness of the issue and the difficulty in dealing with students whose parents are deniers of climate change.”
When asked in the poll why teachers do not teach about climate change, they named many obstacles such as not having enough materials, not being allowed to teach it in schools, and not knowing enough about the subject.
— Will Richardson-Moving schools to Modern Learning (@willrich45) April 24, 2019
So could it be that even adults are not adequately educated about climate change or how to approach the topic, and so, they aren’t sure how to teach young ones about it?
If that’s the case, it’s even more important for schools to take the responsibility to embed climate change in their curriculum or even make it a separate subject altogether.
Schools in developed countries are slowly starting to tailor their curriculum to include relevant courses, such as the UK recently introducing ‘Mindfulness’ and updating their sex education curriculum to teach students about current issues like sexting and female genital mutilation.
Therefore, it seems ideal that climate change, an important topic that affects everyone and the world around us, should also be considered.
The sooner children become more aware and educated on environmental topics, the more likely they will grow up to become eco-friendly adults who can contribute to a more sustainable future.