Climate change calls for more education
As a concerned citizen, it is frustrating that the debate surrounding climate change continues to rage, even though the overwhelming majority of scientists agree that the human-caused release of greenhouse gasses is causing changes to our climate.
The data is in, the results have been calculated, and we need to take action. One of the most important steps we can take as a community is to improve environmental education across the state of Pennsylvania.
This is an important time for environmental education. By mid-December, the Senate will vote on the federal budget for 2018. President Trump recently called for $200 million dollars for STEM education, but he did so with a particular focus on “computer literacy,” and he proposed funding cuts for Title IV (Parts A & B) of the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA).
Those cuts would potentially eliminate programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provide communities like northwest Philadelphia with environmental learning opportunities.
These programs should be enhanced, not cut. Environmental education taught with an emphasis on hands-on, field-based learning can enhance individual understanding of other STEM concepts. Environmental education also benefits the community, including improved health and eating habits.
As Mrs. Obama states on her website, “Children’s level of physical activity has been shown to increase when they participate in environmental education programs that promote outdoor activity.” By bolstering these programs, we will help kids live a healthy life as well as generating a lifelong connection to the environment.
By gutting, and potentially eliminating, programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, President Trump is hindering our students, our community, and our future. We need to demand that environmental education gets the funding it deserves.