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Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) has introduced Assembly Bill 1922, which will require California students to learn the causes and effects of climate change.
The bill will require climate change education as part of coursework requirements for students in the first through sixth grades, and will make it a graduation requirement for students in seventh through 12th grades, starting 2025.
California is seen as a world leader when it comes to environmentalism, Rivas said. In the 1970s, California adopted the California Environmental Quality Act to provide some of the strictest environmental reviews on new infrastructure projects. In 2006, the state established the first comprehensive greenhouse gas regulatory program in the United States, and this year Gov. Gavin Newsom set aside $12 billion over the next five years to combat climate change.
“Climate change needs to be a part of our day-to-day academic discussion. This past decade has already started with extreme climate incidents occurring across the globe. As the youth that will inherit the brunt of climate change effects, we need them to be a part of the solution,” Rivas added. “AB 1922 will educate, help prepare and give our next generation the tools to shape their futures in the wake of our current climate crisis.”
Students will not be the only ones learning about climate change under the bill. A recent study by the Nature Climate Change found that teaching children about climate change in schools also significantly increased their parents’ knowledge about the issue. Additionally, a National Public Radio poll found that 80% of parents in the U.S. supported the teaching of climate change, and 86% of teachers believe climate change should be taught at schools.
“Education is power and we must give our students the tools to tackle the climate crisis,” said Mary Creasman, CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters. “Students across California are facing the dire impacts of our climate crisis, missing class due to wildfires, power outages and pollution concerns. They should be equipped with the education to help improve their future.”
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