Portland puts a stop in controversies on climate change
May 25, 2016
The Portland Public Schools approved a resolution to abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root cause – human activities. The implementation plan adopted will include a review of the current textbooks on the accuracy regarding the topic, and provide personnel with professional development, curricular materials, and outdoor and field studies that explore the causes and consequences of the climate crisis as well as potential solutions. Moreover, as part of the resolution, Portland Public Schools will sponsor events to share knowledge, resources and opportunities for students to get the information they need about the current renewable energy movement.
The video of the full meeting shows the various points discussed and the focus that PPS wants to introduce about climate justice. Climate change is no longer framed in physical or environmental terms, but as a social, ethical and political issue.
Misinformation can only reduce the sense of urgency to find sustainable solutions. In fact, only 54% of American teens believe climate change is happening, 43% don’t believe humans cause it, and 57% aren’t concerned about it. This comes from a public opinion poll released by Pew Research Centre and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Conversely, climate change is a scientific fact and it should be reported as such, not as a debate over different opinions.
“The decision by the Portland Public School Board is a step in the right direction, but it cannot stop there. Climate education and environmental literacy can no longer be an option. They need to be the standard in order for our future decision-makers, politicians, scientists, engineers, and world leaders to be able to make scientifically informed decisions about the consequences of climate change,” explained Dr. Karena Mary Ruggiero, Director of Education at Earth Day Network. “Portland is setting a great example, but now the entire state of Oregon needs to step up, and then Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and so on.”
Misinformation on this issue is an impediment for the students and the teachers to achieve any educational goal. An unbiased education in the science of climate change will eventually create the next generation of scientists addressing the issue, who will discover solutions to improve global economic, social, and environmental positions.
Earth Day Network’s Green Schools is a similar example of environmental education program, which aims to increase the climate awareness of students and let them understand their role in creating sustainable solutions.