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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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>