Climate education bill proposed by two NH science teachers
Updated: Jan 5
December 31, 2019
Concord NH – Representative Chris Balch, (D-Hillsboro 38) has brought forward a bill, HB 1635, that would require climate education for all pre-K through 12 students in New Hampshire public schools.
The bill, a collaboration between my friend, retired science teacher Representative Chris Balch, and myself, a current middle-high school science teacher, would help prepare Granite State students for the future they will be facing in a world already compromised by a changed climate.
We coordinated on writing this bill to increase understanding of the scientific evidence that student and adult citizens need to make informed decisions.
Energy conservation, home and business weatherization and increased renewable energy usage creates jobs and benefits New Hampshire's economy. These jobs, and those that have not yet been imagined, are what young people must be preparing for now, before they step into the job market. Training students for the technology, medical, research, communications, manufacturing and green construction fields will provide them with the marketable skills they need to succeed.
Nationally, schools are embracing renewable energy, conservation, rooftop and water gardens, organic farming, cooking, composting and student problem-solving inventions. Talented and tech-savvy New Hampshire students must tap their creativity and ingenuity to compete with their peers as new careers emerge.
As climate action advocates, we work to protect the health and safety of NH's youth and families. Representative Balch and I were opposed to the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline that threatened our hometowns. We have been actively engaged in opposing the Liberty Utilities Granite Bridge Pipeline, and are now also working with the No Coal No Gas coalition of multi-state organizations to shut down the Bow NH Merrimack Station coal plant.
We value the clean air, water, food and farms that sustain rural life and the tourism industry that brings $5 billion into NH annually. Good water and air quality, along with our dramatically forested mountainsides, is what keeps our state physically and economically healthy.
Students need to learn about anthropogenic climate change from pre-K through college. It will impact every aspect of their lives, from family life to health, career choices and economics. Teachers must step up and demand that young people become adequately educated so they will be as well prepared as they possibly can be.
Diseased moose are being overcome by ticks whose populations have exploded in recent years due to warmer winters. Moose become infested with ticks, that no longer die during warming winters. They suck the blood of the reclusive, but much-admired megafauna, drastically reducing their numbers in deepest woods of New England. Maple trees, the quality of maple syrup, decreasing populations of shrimp, cod, whales, birds, bears, other wildlife and the snow that supports winter tourism, are all decreasing in numbers.
Educators know that children are the ones who educate adults. Their courage, energy and wisdom is needed to guide their elders in moving forward, a task that has historically been undertaken by students.
As educator-advocates Rep Balch and I will continue collaborating, educating and raising awareness of the threats to health, safety, economy and future that is already impacting life in the Granite State. I'm so appreciative of Chris' commitment to education and scientific initiatives at the State House and honored to support him in this important work.
The bill, to be brought to the House in 2020, is an effort to increase science education in New Hampshire schools, with real-life application so important to student study, guided by the Next Generation science curriculum standards.
New Hampshire House Bills I've collaborated with Representative Chris Balch on:
HB 1635 - Requiring climate education in grade and secondary schools.
HB 1228 - Proclaiming Climate Change Awareness Day on October 1st.
HB 1229 - Requiring proposed natural gas facilities to include decommissioning costs.
"A bill in the House would require some lessons about climate change in elementary school, and at least ten hours of climate education or a full semester of environmental education in high school.
Some teachers already incorporate climate change into their science curriculum, but the bill's sponsor, Representative Chris Balch (D), says it’s the state’s responsibility to prioritize it.
“We need to have a common base of knowledge of what climate change is, how it works, how it happens, what we can do about it,” he says."
- AP News