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Environmental protection in schools

Why The Roar believes environmental protection should be focused on more in schools.

Colby Perron, Staff Writer

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If Leonardo DiCaprio, an Oscar winner and world famous actor, believes that climate change is a major danger to our planet, why don’t you?

Since the second Industrial Revolution, our country has made a very heavy carbon footprint, being the second highest source of CO2 emissions in the world. According to the EPA, the USA had a grand total of 5,334,000 kt (CO2 emissions) in 2014, making it a total of 16.5 per capita. China makes up the highest emitter of CO2, having released a total of 10,450,000 kt in 2014.

Despite how large these numbers are, a large number of Americans still do not support change in our carbon output. In fact, an EPA survey states that only 67% of Democrats and 18% of Republicans believe that it is important to focus on changing our impact according to a January 2016 survey. That is why we, The Roar, believe that focusing on climate goals is a very important topic to focus on, especially in schools.

Based on the sheer amount of climate change deniers, it is clear that not enough focus is brought on the topic. Mandatory sciences, such as chemistry and biology, are accepted entirely as fact by all those that participate in the class. Students learn that the mitochondria is indeed the powerhouse of the cell and are able to accept that as a fact. Years of scientific research have gone into these topics, and therefore, they are taught as such.

However, according to the EPA, since 1986 (the first claim that fossil fuels may be harming the environment), the same amount of research has gone into the topic of climate change, including a potential increase of 2.5-11 degrees fahrenheit by the end of the century. Sure, 2100 may be a ways away, but an 11 degree increase across the world will flood and, according to some researchers, will leave entire states under water.

With this data and research, how is it that there are still people that deny climate change’s very existence? The severe lack of focus on educating the public about the topic could be the cause. Attempting to educate fully grown adults on new topics never seems to end well. After all, adults prefer to live their lives without worrying about the bigger issues because of all of the issues in our home country. Therefore, the documentaries and stories written about climate change just come across as preachy.

Nobody disputes the role of the mitochondria in the cell because, from the beginning of biology, it has been taught to us that it is the powerhouse of the cell. If we, as a society, implement into our schools a better focus on how our planet is changing and how important it is to do something to prevent it, perhaps there will be more push to do something before it is too late.

If we teach students from a young age about what is happening across the world with climate change, perhaps we could convince everyone that it is real and maybe even be able to make a change.

In the words of the great Theodore Roosevelt, “We are not building this world for a generation alone. We did not inherit the world from our parents, we are simply borrowing it from our children.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
Environmental protection in schools