Quantcast

Majority of Americans Want Climate Education in Schools

iStock

In a rebuke to efforts by the Heartland Institute and at least 10 state legislatures, a large majority of Americans believe climate change should be taught in schools, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) reported Wednesday.

When the YPCCC asked Americans, "Should schools teach our children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming?", a national average of 78 percent either somewhat or strongly agreed that they should.


Moreover, a large majority shared that view in all of the 50 states and more than 3,000 counties surveyed, whether or not they favored Republicans or Democrats in elections.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

The results suggest that efforts in at least 10 states to alter how climate change is addressed in state educational standards are out of step with voters.

For example, YPCCC holds up the case of Idaho, where state legislators argued that no section on human-caused climate change should be included in state science standards, but instead arguments for and against a human role should be presented. Scientists and educators successfully argued that such a move would damage the education and futures of students by presenting a scientific consensus on an urgent issue as up-for-debate. The final decision was in line with the majority of Idahoans views, since, according to YPCCC data, 76 percent of them support climate education.

The same is true for the residents of other states debating their science standards, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

National Center for Science Education Deputy Director Glenn Branch told Business Insider in 2017 that, when it comes to determining state science standards, "the two topics that arouse the most discontent and controversy are climate change and evolution."

But the YPCCC data suggests that that controversy is manufactured at the political level and not felt by most Americans.

One key controversy-monger, according to YPCCC, is the climate-denying think tank the Heartland Institute. In March 2017, the fossil-fuel-funded group sent out 25,000 copies of a book called Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming to science teachers nationwide.

Despite that effort, majority opinion seems more in line with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a science-education template that Branch called "the gold standard." The NGSS clearly link human activity to climate change and have been accepted by 19 states and Washington, DC, Business Insider reported.

However, more teacher education is needed to ensure U.S. school children are learning accurate climate science. YPCCC cited research published in Science that found that only 30 percent of middle school and 45 percent of high school science teachers understand the degree of scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. Worse, 30 percent of teachers who teach climate change tell their students it is due to natural causes.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A metal fence marked with the U.S. Border Patrol sign prevents people to get close to the barbed/concertina wire covering the U.S./Mexico border fence, in Nogales, Arizona, on Feb. 9. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday, overturning Congress' vote to block his national emergency declaration to fund a border wall that environmental advocates say would put 93 endangered species at risk. However, the president's decision came the same day as an in-depth report from UPI revealing how razor wire placed at the border in the last four months already threatens wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Guillermo Murcia / Moment / Getty Images

By Ansley Hill

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your body needs for many vital processes, including building and maintaining strong bones.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
D'Bone Collector Museum head Darrell Blatchley shows plastic found inside the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in the Philippines this weekend. - / AFP / Getty Images

Yet another whale has died after ingesting plastic bags. A young male Cuvier's beaked whale was found washed up in Mabini, Compostela Valley in the Philippines Friday, CNN reported. When scientists from the D' Bone Collector Museum in Davao investigated the dead whale, they found it had died of "dehydration and starvation" after swallowing plastic bags―40 kilograms (approximately 88 pounds) worth of them!

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

"Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it." This is something that everybody has to learn at some point. Lately, the lesson has hit home for a group of American automakers.

Read More Show Less
Art direction: Georgie Johnson. Illustrations: Freya Morgan

By Joe Sandler Clarke

"Don't expect us to continue buying European products," Malaysia's former plantations minister Mah Siew Keong told reporters in January last year. His comments came just after he had accused the EU of "practising a form of crop apartheid."

A few months later Luhut Pandjaitan, an Indonesian government minister close to President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, warned his country would retaliate if it was "cornered" by the EU.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Torres and his parents walk along the Rio Grande. Luis Torres / Earthjustice

By Luis Torres

For some people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's attempt to declare a national emergency and extend the border wall is worse than a wasteful, unconstitutional stunt. It's an attack on their way of life that threatens to desecrate their loved ones' graves.

Read More Show Less
Flooding at the Platte River south of Fremont, Nebraska. Gov. Pete Ricketts

Flooding caused by last week's bomb cyclone storm has broken records in 17 places across the state of Nebraska, CNN reported Sunday. Around nine million people in 14 states along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were under a flood watch, CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis said.

Read More Show Less
A car destroyed by Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique. ADRIEN BARBIER / AFP / Getty Images

At least 150 people have died in a cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the weekend, The Associated Press reported Sunday. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people since it hit Mozambique's port city of Beira late Thursday, then traveled west to Zimbabwe and Malawi. Hundreds are still missing and tens of thousands are without access to roads or telephones.

"I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives," Mozambique's Environment Minister Celso Correia said, as AFP reported.

Read More Show Less