Mass — Earth Day, which will be marked on Saturday, was created in 1970 to focus attention on the environmental challenges our planet faces.
As concerns about climate change continue to grow, there’s a push to get Massachusetts public school students to think about this issue on a regular basis.
That’s what’s happening in Milford High School where students have the option to take Advanced Placement Environmental Science.
“I think as more information is making it into the mainstream media, they do want to know a little more about what’s going on,” said teacher Deb Ferrara.
Not every school district in Massachusetts has a program like the one in Milford.
Ferrara thinks classes like this are more important now than ever.
“Clearly, we’re not solving climate change right now with our current political climate. It’s just not happening. So, it’s not going to be the generation that’s currently in power that’s going to be solving these problems. It’s going to be these kids that I’m teaching.”
State Senator Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and the Islands, is seeing the impact of climate change first-hand.
“We’re here on Cape Cod, where you know, rising seas are leading to an erosion of 33 acres a year.”
Cyr filed a bill after consulting with local students that would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with a standard climate change curriculum for all grades.
“I think with this curriculum, with this education, we are going to be able to give students tools and the understanding of how to tackle the climate crisis.”
It’s certainly something that weighs on this generation’s mind.
Last year, a national survey conducted by Blue California found that 75% of young people between the ages of 14-24 say they experienced a mental health-related disorder, such as anxiety or stress, associated with climate change.
81% say global leaders aren’t doing enough about the problem.
Milford High School student Thomas Putman said he’s hopeful about addressing climate change “because what we do now will affect us later, so the sooner we start and learn about the climate, the sooner we can fix it.”
Fellow student Usman Amir added, “Our planet is kind of not in a good situation and I think it’s our job as the next generation to step up.”
Since the curriculum would be for all grades, Boston 25 News Meteorologist Shiri Spear asked senior Carly Foley if it’s a good idea to teach climate to younger kids. Foley responded, “Definitely, I think the earlier you start, the better.”
Deb Ferrara couldn’t agree more. She says if students came to her with a better base of knowledge, she could tackle more sophisticated topics.
Still, she’s happy to be able to teach her A.P. class.
“I really do feel that it’s important for every high school student in Massachusetts and across the country to get a good solid climate education.”
The bill is currently in the education committee and should have a hearing date assigned soon
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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