New Jersey now requires comprehensive climate change education — what about Minnesota?

Teachers at a workshop to boost their climate-education skills.
Teachers make a model of the greenhouse effect at Climate Generation’s annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, which helps educators learn how to teach climate science.
Courtesy of Climate Generation

This month, New Jersey announced it's the first state to include climate change education in its K-12 teaching standards. It will require teachers across grade levels and disciplines to include lessons on the topic.

“Typically, what we see in climate change education is that it's more or less taught in science only,” said Lindsey Kirkland, education manager for the Minnesota-based nonprofit, Climate Generation. “But what we know now is that climate change solutions are interdisciplinary and rely on skills in civics and geography, as well as art and writing and ways of knowing that are not only based in Western science.”

Kirkland said Minnesota recently approved new science standards that require climate change education in sixth grade science and throughout high school. The standards are still going the rule-making process and will take about five years to roll out, she said.

But Kirkland said many Minnesota educators are already teaching climate change.

“Students are demanding information about climate change and teachers want to meet them where they're at,” she said.

Climate Generation supports those teachers with workshops each summer and other professional development opportunities and resources. Its next workshop for teachers is scheduled for July 22 to 24.

Kirkland spoke with MPR News chief meteorologist and Climate Cast host Paul Huttner. Click play on the audio player above to hear their conversation.

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