Climate change is definitely one of the most pressing issues of our generation. As global carbon emissions keep growing out of control, the effects can be seen pretty much wherever in the world you go. The bad part is that despite a scientific consensus, as much as 40% of the United States’ population simply doesn’t believe it’s real. And according to a study requested by the National Centre for Science Education, fewer than 50% of science teachers teach proper climate change.
According to a study performed by the Pennsylvania State University and the National Centre for Science Education, almost two thirds of all students in United States schools are taught incorrect or incomplete lessons about climate change. This may be the answer to why such a huge percentage of the population doesn’t believe it’s really happening.
By looking at public and middle schools in all the 50 states, the first national survey of classroom science teachers showed that only 38% of school children are taught correct lessons regarding the subject. Even worse, only 45% of high school teachers and 30% of middle school teachers know that climate change is caused by human activity.
Meanwhile, 4% of teachers avoided talking about the subject altogether, 7% attributed climate change to natural causes, both very wrong approaches, while 22% did say that human activity was the main cause, although they falsely claimed that most scientists disagree on the issue.
Out of the percentage that actually bothers teaching the children about the future of their planet, about 30% only spend less than an hour each school year talking about the subject, while higher grades mostly get no new information whatsoever, with the teachers simply rehashing the same old material.
Effects and counters
The lack of proper education regarding the subject leaves most US children very susceptible to disinformation tactics employed by the fossil fuel industry, as well as by political and corporate parties interested to keep selling their agenda (both literally and figuratively).
Since most of us won’t be seeing the full extent of our carbon emissions during our lifespans, the true effects will have to be countered by the future generation, which is currently being educated. However, with such poor knowledge and easily influential ideas, they will have no small measure of trouble fixing our mistakes.
As for the misinformed teachers, experts suggest training classes in climate science, as it is partly the scientific community’s fault for not keeping them up to date with the current progress of the science.
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