Integrating Climate Education into Schools

children holding up plastic globe

In some states, when a student asks their teacher about ocean acidification, their teacher may struggle to address the question in instructional detail. While students are wondering what the planet will be like in their future, teachers in most states don’t have access to consistent instructional materials related to climate change. Thankfully, in other states, that’s starting to change.

New Jersey was the first state to mandate teaching climate change. It’s not just in science but across all subjects including visual and performing arts, health and physical education, science, social studies, world languages, computer science, and key skills. The teaching starts in elementary school and continues through high school where students collaborate with students from other countries. In social studies class students collaborate in developing solutions to environmental justice issues.


Connecticut followed in 2023 making climate change education part of grades 5-12 education.

Beginning in the 2024-25 school year California schools will be required to provide climate change education to all students in grades 1–12 science coursework. A bill proposing a similar mandate is working its way through the New York legislature. And both Maine and Washington, have both earmarked funds for professional development for teachers on the climate change.

Education is the foundation to positive change.