Integrate Climate Education into NYS School Curriculum!

New York State Senate and Assembly

S.596 (Senator May): AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring the commissioner of education to make recommendations to the board of regents relating to the adoption of instruction in climate science in senior high schools and

S.4781 (Senator May): AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring the commis-sioner of education to make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for certain classes to include climate change education

Increased access to climate education is a crucial step towards combating the adverse effects of human activity on the environment; it will encourage systematic reform within political, economic, and social institutions on behalf of the planet. In order for this to occur, students must learn to view climate challenges as both scientifically and socially significant. For these reasons, the Climate and Resilience Education Task Force urges the joint passage of S.596 and S. 4781.

S. 596 would mandate the state commissioner of education to make climate science recommendations to the NYS board of regents, promoting an amended curriculum that provides insight to the causes of global warming. S. 4781 builds upon this action by endorsing recommendations to teach the social implications of climate change, such as environmental racism and climate resilience; this will promote climate instruction across humanities courses in addition to STEM classes. The New York City Department of Education alone accounts for over 1 million students across more than 1,300 school buildings, making it the largest education district nationwide. If climate instruction is embraced interdisciplinary and supported across New York State, we will become trailblazers in the fight for climate education to be mandated nationally.



To: New York State Senate and Assembly
From: [Your Name]

To Whom it May Concern,

We, the constituents of New York State, support S.596 and S.4781 (May), which would jointly prompt the board of regents to incorporate interdisciplinary climate education across New York state public high schools.

From heightened atmospheric carbon concentrations to rising sea levels, climate change is an ever-present threat to the global community. In order to combat these challenges and promote sustainable living, the U.S. population must develop a foundational understanding of the multifaceted implications of planetary neglect. The United Nations has called on all countries to include climate education in their schools’ curricula. We need an educated citizenry who can understand the need to move towards zero net carbon economies, participate in mandates to reduce carbon emissions, and access training and skills needed for the green jobs that will help us adapt to a rapidly changing world. Climate instruction in high school will better prepare our nation’s youth, the future generations of policy makers, to address global warming in an educated and strategic manner.

S. 596 would mandate the state commissioner of education to make climate science recommendations to the NYS board of regents, promoting an amended curriculum that provides insight to the causes of global warming. S. 4781 builds upon this action by endorsing recommendations to teach the social implications of climate change, such as environmental racism and climate resilience; this will promote climate instruction across humanities courses in addition to STEM classes. The New York City Department of Education alone accounts for over 1 million students across more than 1,300 school buildings, making it the largest education district nationwide. If interdisciplinary climate instruction is embraced and supported across New York State, we will become trailblazers in the fight for climate education to be mandated nationally.

Increased access to climate education is a crucial step towards combating the adverse effects of human activity on the environment; it will encourage systematic reform within political, economic, and social institutions on behalf of the planet. In order for this to occur, students must learn to view climate challenges as both scientifically and socially significant. For these reasons, the constituents of New York State urge the joint passage of S.596 and S. 478.