Key points:

A majority of teenagers want to learn about climate change in school

New Jersey became the first state to implement comprehensive climate instruction across all grades and subjects

The climate crisis is undermining decades of progress in global health and poverty reduction. We look to our next generation of planetary heroes for solutions, but are we educating them in climate literacy?

Climate-literate people understand the principles of Earth’s evolving climate system, the complex interconnections, the influence of humans, and scientific approaches to mitigation. They make informed and responsible decisions on actions that may affect climate, and communicate about climate change in a meaningful way.

Because of technology, younger generations understand our small planet is an interconnected place and that we can all help in reducing climate-related threats facing humanity: extreme weather; food system disruptions; water-borne and zoonotic diseases; mental health risks, etc. 

Some of our first impressions of how we should “show up” in society and what we should care about as citizens are created in classrooms. It doesn’t have to be political: The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that 78 percent of American voters support children learning in schools about its causes, consequences, and potential solutions.