Environmental Science Class Should Be Mandated

Youth Opportunities

Since 1880, the warmest temperature on Earth has been in 2016 and 2020. By the end of the 21st century, the water levels in the San Francisco Bay will rise by three to six feet. Global warming and climate change is worsening by the day. According to NASA, we only have 9 years to reverse the situation before it becomes irreversible. Even if we are able to cut off our emissions, it will still take more than 1000 years to completely remove the devastating effect global warming has had on our planet (via the United Nations). 

Jefferson Union School District should require environmental science to be a mandatory class in the high school curriculum because the course raises awareness about critical environment issues, teaches students to recognize environmental injustice in their personal lives and local communities, and encourages students to pursue future studies and careers in environmental science.

Many students are unaware of the growing effects of climate change. Some don’t even believe that climate change exists. In a survey conducted by the Brookings Institute, only 4% of students think they know a lot about climate change while 42% of students feel they learned very little or nothing at all about the topic in school. And only 57% of students marked that they want to learn more about climate change. 

When environmental science becomes a mandatory course for all students to take, students will realize how climate change is applicable in their personal lives and how it will affect their communities. When students become knowledgeable about this topic, they will see that climate change impacts what type of food they will eat and living conditions like weather and temperature. In the past years, the United States has faced many extreme weather conditions, such as floods in Texas, hurricanes in Louisiana, and the storms, wildfires, and droughts in California. Just this month, Daly City has experienced strong winds and pouring rains. The Bay Area received approximately 4.02 inches of rain in the fall of 2021. Students had trouble going to school and returning home under these circumstances. A mandatory environmental science course would allow students to understand why these storms happen and how to take proper action.

Lastly, the course could ultimately encourage and motivate students to pursue future studies or careers in the environmental science field. According to The Guardian, around the world, more than 1.4 million young people took part in strikes for climate action. Throughout the duration of this course our students will be inspired to take similar actions as they are encouraged to take part in community activities such as coastal clean ups, replanting damaged trees on sidewalks, or taking part in strikes for climate action. Students will take inspiration from what they learned in school and apply it to initiate their own projects in the field. The class would also provide a great opportunity for students to hear from professional guest speakers about the current opportunities being offered and ways they can get involved. 

Weighing the many benefits of the course, Jefferson Union High School District should mandate environmental science as a required course so that students will be made aware of the issue, recognize how the issue impacts their personal lives, and be encouraged to pursue future studies in climate change. Climate change is happening now and affecting everyone’s lives – from the weather we live under to the streets we walk on – so take action now by starting a petition to mandate environmental science as a required course at the Jefferson Union High School District .