ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL – EEAC
The Environmental Education Advisory Council (EEAC), founded in 1974, is the only citywide environmental education network representing New York City. EEAC cultivates an inclusive community committed to increasing its capacity to understand and address NYC’s environmental and related societal challenges.
EEAC believes the New York State Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan must include a strong climate change education component.
In the history of the modern environmental movement, environmental education has often not been included in key legislation to address climate change, pollution prevention, habitat loss and other environmental impacts. That systemic omission is one of the primary reasons Americans generally support but do not prioritize environmental concerns. It is encouraging, however, that according to a recent report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, there is wide support (78%) for teaching about the causes, consequences and political solutions to global warming.
According to the report, support for climate change education spans the political spectrum. Inclusion of climate change education as recommended below will hopefully over time convince Americans to strongly consider climate change when they vote for their leaders.
We recommend that those who are shaping the Scoping Plan infuse climate change concepts into all aspects of the plan. It is important that future administrations in our state and in the nation as a whole recognize the importance of including climate change education in any comprehensive plan to address the climate crisis. The New York State Scoping Plan can be a model in this regard.
Climate concepts must be integrated into all subject areas in NY State schools from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. There must also be required specific courses on climate change at specific grade levels to be determined by each school district.
The colleges of education must include environmental education and related climate change concepts in their programs for all preservice teacher education candidates at the undergraduate and graduate level and in the professional development of classroom teachers on a continuing basis.
The status of climate change education and overall environmental education in our state’s schools of education is shameful when compared to those in Canada or Europe. Without the teacher preparation component, the other climate change education aspects of the Scoping Plan and other elements of the plan that involve citizen participation will not be successful.
The Scoping Plan should include ways of enlisting the many organizations throughout the state that focus on environmental education, to help provide teachers and other professionals that work with youth with opportunities to learn about climate change. The New York State Outdoor Education Association can be a valuable resource in this effort.
Thank you for your attention to these concerns.
Submitted by the Steering Committee of the Environmental Education Advisory Council (EEAC)
Any person or organization who wants to submit comments on the plan should go to: https://climate.ny.gov to read the plan and learn the methods for submitting comments. The deadline for submitting comments has been extended to July 1.
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