KEY POINTS

  • New Jersey is the first state to incorporate Climate Change Education for K-12
  • The lessons will cover seven areas and will begin in the 2021-2022 school year
  • It's part of Gov. Phil Murphy's push for the environment, along with his 100% clean energy initiative 

The state of New Jersey is leading the way in making climate change education part of the K-12 curriculum for public school students, the first in the U.S. to have such an initiative.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced Wednesday (June 3) that the state’s Board of Education had adopted the guidelines for teaching global warming studies to its 1.4 million young students.  Their lessons will cover seven areas like 21st Century Life and Careers, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages, which will start in the 2021-2022 school year.

"The adoption of these standards is much more than an added educational requirement; it is a symbol of a partnership between generations,” Murphy said in a press statement. "This generation of students will feel the effects of climate change more than any other, and it is critical that every student is provided an opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary lens."

Gov. Phil Murphy talked about changing New Jersey's public school curriculum during his State of the State address in January, in line with his 100% clean energy push for 2050. It also comes as students all over the world have staged mass protests and walkouts, led by teen green activist Greta Thunberg, to convince leaders to make laws and policies on climate change a priority.

protest-2265287_1920 Climate Change education will be incorporated in New Jersey's curriculum beginning the 2021 to 2022 school year. Photo: Pixabay

Environmentalist and former Vice President Al Gore commended New Jersey’s initiative. In a statement to CNN, Gore said that he is proud of the state for being the first in the U.S. to fully integrate climate change education for K-12.

"This initiative is vitally important to our students as they are the leaders of tomorrow, and we will depend on their leadership and knowledge to combat this crisis," Gore said.

In 2019, NPR and Ispos polled teachers across the country about climate change, where 55% said that there had been no global warming studies in their schools. About 86% of the teachers said that climate change education should be part of the curriculum.