This year, Connecticut public schools will be required to teach students about human-caused climate change. It will be taught as part of their regular science curriculum.

“And it does not get to be a victim of a budget cut or a conservative local board of ed that might think climate change is a hoax, because I’ve certainly heard that,” says state representative Christine Palm.

Palm is vice chair of the environment committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. She worked for years to pass legislation to require the curriculum change.

She says she was motivated in part by the urgency that many young people feel about solving the climate crisis.

So to pass this legislation, Palm worked with youth-led environmental advocacy groups. And students testified before lawmakers. 

“And the pushback I got from some of the colleagues at the General Assembly was, ‘Well, you’re scaring the kids,’” she says. “I am telling you, they are already terrified. Climate despair is very, very real.”

Palm says that educating kids about climate change and climate solutions will give them hope. And it will help them steer clear of disinformation.

“We owe it to these kids to arm them with the tools to be part of a solution to a problem they had no hand in creating,” she says.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media