Every Student Deserves to Know About Climate Change


Courtesy of Stephen Dundorf, YubaNet.com

The Colorado River is drying up due to climate change.

Fiona Botsford, Rookie Reporter

The truth about climate change 

Climate change is not limited to one place; it’s affecting the entire world. In Colorado, temperatures are warming up, and the Colorado River is drying out. According to The Nature Conservancy, the main cause of the Colorado River running dry is an intense drought that is fueled by climate change.

This is why it’s important that, around the world, schools are including  climate change education in the classroom setting. Here at Wheat Ridge High School, this is the first year to include environmental science in the curriculum instead of Earth science. This class that is offered to sophomores will. thankfully, include a good deal about climate change. 

Physics teacher and science department chair Toni Budoff said, “Every unit is hit either cause or effect when it comes to climate change. So it’s interwoven throughout the entire year in every unit.” This is great news and is a good step in the right direction. 

How does climate change education help students? 

Climate change has just as much of an effect on the world as it does on mental health. Eco-anxiety, a term first coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht, describes the fear and extreme worry about the current and future of the environment because of climate change. This anxiety affects thousands of people all over the world. Being taught about climate change can help students learn to adapt and deal with this anxiety. ABCNews.com says 45% of teenagers have climate induced anxiety that negatively affects their daily life. So it’s important for these people to learn about climate change and how to properly deal with the emotional effects it has. 

Freshman Scarlett Holte said, “If they are taught more about it they know the facts; they’re more solid.” It’s certainly better to know the facts than to know nothing. 

Seeing as education is critical for a real change to happen, it can encourage and motivate people to take action. 

Science teacher Kurt Larson said, “The more they [students] are informed, the better decisions they can make and then take action on those decisions.” 

When students learn about the impacts climate change has on their lives and everyone else’s, they are more likely to want to make a change. With the right information, anyone can make the right decision and understand how to take action. 

Larson continued, “I hope that your generation can do what we weren’t able to do, which is to get this thing turned around. It’s heading in the wrong direction and we can’t seem to act together as a civilization.”

Why should this be talked about?

Thankfully an increasing number of Americans believe in climate change, but some still don’t believe it will affect them and possibly hurt them. Anyone can look around and see the toll climate change has taken on their world. 

We, as a people, have made intense natural disasters so normal that we forget that climate change is making them more powerful. Columbia Climate School’s “State of the Planet” says climate change increased Hurricane Ian’s strength and amount of rainfall in September, therefore, increasing the storm’s surge. It’s not just hurricanes that are becoming deadlier, it is droughts and storms as well. The whole world is facing the effects of climate change.

With weather changes being so widespread, it guarantees people you know, even yourself, to have seen some kind of effect climate change has had on the environment. 

Budoff said when she visited New York recently, she was surprised at the drastically different weather conditions: “By October, [they usually have] snow on the ground, but it was 60-degree temperatures and it was blue skies. We packed to have lots of layers on and we needed sunscreen.” She continued, “It was warmer than we expected but it’s also, it was just a change, it was different from what we were expecting.” 

As a school, we are lucky to have environmental science as a part of the curriculum. Many schools around the world, even in Jefferson County, don’t have the fortunate opportunity to properly learn about what the future will look like. The New York Times said, “Middle and Elementary schools in Florida don’t have climate change as part of school’s education standards at all.” This is the same for Texas, where the state’s school standards barely mention climate change.

At Wheat Ridge, we shouldn’t take the education we are receiving for granted, instead we need to use it for our good and the good of our planet.