Target: Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction
Goal: Educate California students about sustainability through the “The Education and the Environment Initiative” curriculum
The Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) is a free, state-sponsored K-12 curriculum that teaches science and history-social science standards through an environmental lens. The EEI website declares the program as “…a way to make other school subjects rich and relevant and can encourage students to become 21st century problem-solvers.” The problem is that environmental education is optional in California schools and is not being utilized by the vast majority of teachers.
The California Department of Education should require schools to educate students on the importance of respecting our planet and living in a way that can be sustained in future generations. In doing so, it will instill environmental conscientiousness in children that will lead to desirable behaviors such as recycling, conserving water, turning off lights when leaving the room, and riding bikes instead of driving.
The climate crisis can only be managed if we become more aware of how our actions affect the environment. Educating children on the significance of our relationship with the earth is essential to ensuring a future generation of ecologically conscious individuals. To date, K-12 curriculums typically teach the life sciences as isolated processes that exist outside the sphere of human influence. Students learn about the natural environment as if they are separate from it. The current curriculum fails to address that humans, too, are part of the web of life and our lives are intimately linked to the subject of ecology.
Both global warming and growing populations are issues that urgently need to be dealt with at a global level. Climate change is contributing to massive species extinctions, more unpredictable weather patterns, and less suitable farm lands. This compounds the issue of exponential population growth, which threatens food security and a limited water supply. These challenges demand that our nation takes urgent steps in becoming more sustainable.
Today’s students are America’s future leaders, business owners, and consumers, and it is absolutely critical that they understand the magnitude of our present environmental challenges. By signing the petition below, you will request that the California Department of Education require schools to adopt the Education and the Environment curriculum.
Dear Mr. Torlakson,
In light of the current climate crisis, it is essential to incorporate sustainability into primary and secondary education. Children need to be informed at an early age of the relationship between human beings and the earth. Instruction in the life sciences needs to emphasize the direct influence human activities have on the health of our planet. Requiring all California school districts to adopt the Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum will foster both environmental awareness and critical thinking skills in students. Furthermore, it will reinforce learning objectives that are already stipulated by Common Core.
In becoming aware of the finite nature of our planet, students will be more likely to recycle and conserve resources. Today’s students are America’s future leaders, business owners, and consumers, which is why it is crucial that the education system cultivates in them a sense of ecological consciousness. By requiring schools to adopt standards for environmental education, California can serve as a model for other states to do the same. Please obligate California schools to utilize the Education and the Environment Initiative and provide students the educational resources to become the problem-solvers our world desperately needs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Glady via Pixabay