Shaping tomorrow: The importance of climate change education

December 15, 2021

As the Earth continues to warm, and the world moves into 2022, it is now that action and concrete steps must be taken before we are at the point of no return. Greenhouse gases and carbon emissions fill the atmosphere, leaving Earth warmer than it was and society, as a whole, in fear for its future tomorrow.

Even at Cherry Hill High School East, with the addition of clubs, focus groups, and classes built on the basis of tackling the issue, climate change has taken precedent and continues to be a leading factor of anxiety, fear, and unsureness– on top of stressful classes, activities, and more homework than ever.

According to an Eastside survey, with nearly 100 responses from the East community, around 87% of students – an overwhelming majority – want to learn more about the issue facing the world.

When asked whether they thought climate change should be implemented at East, 94% of East students said “yes” while 6% said “no”. (Sophia Liu (’24))

An even greater majority of East students feel Cherry Hill East and the Cherry Hill Public School District do not put nearly enough emphasis on climate change in the classroom. Students who go to school to learn and take part in change and revelation, who want to learn how and why do not get the opportunity to learn about a topic interesting to them at their school. Cherry Hill should focus on climate change, especially because it is an issue that will be on the top of the importance list heading into the coming school years.

Certain students made it clear that they think it is important but would just want to know how to help or why it would affect them. One student, in particular, would love to learn more about it but is not sure how it would affect their mental health.

“I think [climate change education] is important because of how global warming and climate change affect our futures. We need to take care of our planet because, as of right now, it is the only one we have. I think people are so fixated on finding a new planet Earth when they could actually focus on saving this one” said Grace Yoon (‘24).

Eastside asked students to rank their knowledge of climate change from 1 (least knowledgeable) to 5 (most knowledgeable). (Sophia Liu (’24))

No students at East feel completely knowledgeable on the subject, even with the addition of a climate change elective course.

“​I have always thought that climate change is important and if anything, the class is making me recognize even more so how much people are harming the planet,” said Brielle Lampf (‘23), a student in one of the climate change classes.

Climate change is extremely important to the students at Cherry Hill East, especially the students who want to help shape tomorrow. From the survey and the East halls, filled with the flyers for climate change-dedicated organizations, as well as the news and governmental climate change task forces, climate change is real and needs to be focused on. Students feel that required science courses should focus more on climate change and the way to make a difference, reduce carbon emissions, and how global warming will affect them.

Eastside asked students to rank their knowledge of climate change from 1 (least knowledgeable) to 5 (most knowledgeable). (Sophia Liu (’24))

“I think it’s very important because it is a problem that is rapidly increasing at an alarming rate, and if we don’t do anything about it soon, there may be devastating consequences,” said Alexander Kang (‘24).

Climate change affects students’ mental health, the clothes they wear during Earth’s different seasons, their future homes and places they live in (as many believe the coasts of the world will cease to exist soon), physical health problems because of pollution, world ecosystems and food sources, and so much more.

“I feel that it is a very important issue that should be discussed throughout all years of school and taught at a young age. The other generations should learn about global warming at a young age to prevent further damage to the planet,” said Katie Nguyen (‘24).

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