New Jersey Becomes First State to Put the Climate Crisis in Its K-12 Curriculum
New Jersey has invested in the future health of the planet by making sure the next generation of adults knows how human activity has had a deleterious effect on the planet. The state will be the first in the nation to make the climate crisis as part of its curriculum for all students, from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, as NorthJersey.com reported.
BIG NEWS: @GovMurphy and I are proud to announce that New Jersey is the FIRST STATE IN THE NATION to incorporate climate change education across our K-12 learning standards – preparing our students for the future green economy.🌎 pic.twitter.com/SJ2NS8DtWh— Tammy Murphy (@FirstLadyNJ) June 3, 2020
The Garden State's Board of Education adopted the standards on Wednesday, with the intention of implementing them for the start of school in September 2021.
The move drew praise from former Vice President Al Gore, who said in a statement, according to NJ.com: "I am incredibly proud that New Jersey is the first state in the nation to fully integrate climate education in their K-12 curricula. This initiative is vitally important to our students as they are the leaders of tomorrow, and we will depend on their leadership and knowledge to combat this crisis."
As NJ.com reported, the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, which outline what is taught in New Jersey's public schools, now include language that requires climate change education across seven areas: 21st Century Life and Careers, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages.
The move makes New Jersey the first in what is likely to be a nationwide trend. According to a NPR/Ipsos poll published last year, more than 80 percent of American parents and nearly 90 percent of American teachers said that climate change should be taught in schools.
New Jersey's First Lady Tammy Murphy had pushed for the change and was thankful to the board for the initiative on Wednesday, saying that it is a symbol of the state's commitment to the health and well-being of future generations.
"The adoption of these standards is much more than an added educational requirement; it is a symbol of a partnership between generations," said Murphy, in a statement, as Patch reported.
"Decades of short-sighted decision-making has fueled this crisis and now we must do all we can to help our children solve it. This generation of students will feel the effects of climate change more than any other, and it is critical that every student is provided an opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary lens," her statement added.
The release noted that climate change standards have also been added to the appendices of the math and English language arts guidelines, which are up for review in 2022, according to Patch.
Governor Phil Murphy first announced the future curriculum change in his State of the State speech in January, saying that it was a cornerstone of his clean energy push, according to NorthJersey.com.
Murphy said in a statement that the new standards will prepare a new generation for an economy that will be shaped by impacts from the climate crisis, particularly the energy sector.
"A top priority of my Administration has been to reestablish New Jersey's role as a leader in the fight against climate change," Murphy said in the statement, as NJ.com reported. "The adoption of these standards across our K-12 schools is an important step forward that will strengthen the future of New Jersey's green energy economy."
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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Listen:<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/17278520/height/45/theme/standard/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/" height="45" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/01/college-course-teaches-students-how-to-be-climate-leaders/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Yale Climate Connections</a>.</em></p>
By Daniel Raichel
Industry would have us believe that pesticides help sustain food production — a necessary chemical trade-off for keeping harmful bugs at bay and ensuring we have enough to eat. But the data often tell a different story—particularly in the case of neonicotinoid pesticides, also known as neonics.
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