Oregon teachers, students lead push for sweeping expansion of climate change curriculum – Oregon Public Broadcasting

by | Jul 15, 2022 | Climate Change

Student activism around climate change has been ramping up in recent years, with students across Oregon and the country leading walkouts and protests.Students see climate change discussions on social media and they talk about it with their friends.THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:“For our generation, this is something that everyone is talking about, because we understand how pressing this issue is,” said Bend Senior High School junior Olive Nye. “And it really feels like an emergency to us.”Students see and experience the effects of climate change firsthand in places like the Klamath Basin. Klamath Union High School rising senior Kate Rodriguez grew up in Klamath and feels connected to the outdoors and nature there.Seeing the increase in significant environmental problems in her backyard pushed her to get involved in climate organizations.“The more that I see wildfires and drought, I wanted to do something even if it wasn’t related to my school,” Rodriguez said.Nye and Rodriguez are part of a statewide group of students and teachers pushing for more education on climate and sustainability, including place-based lessons schools can tailor to a community’s specific issues. The group, Oregon Educators for Climate Education, includes teachers from across the state.“In Oregon, every single region and even micro-region has different issues they’re facing,” said group member and University of Oregon professor Sarah Stapleton.But for all the activism and real-life impacts of climate change, conversations about the issue can be pretty limited in the classroom.(Left to right) Maya Malka, 17, JJ Klein-Wolf, 15, and Dana Savage, 15, lead thousands of area youth climate activists and supporters on a march through downtown Portland, May 20, 2022, as part of a youth-led climate mobilization demanding city leaders take meaningful action on climate change.Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB“For the majority of my high school, middle school experience, the majority of my climate education has been in only science classes,” said recent graduate of South Eugene High School, Bodhi Coelho.Coelho also mentioned his Spanish class.“I’m lucky to have a teacher who’s very aware about sustainability, so she’ll educate us on topics about sustainability from time to …

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