More than 80% of young Albertans surveyed last spring said they wanted more environmental education in their schools, with 73% saying they are at least somewhat worried about their future due to climate change.
Designed and conducted by Alberta Youth Leaders for Environmental Education (AYLEE), the survey also asked respondents whether they believed that the provincial government should take an active role in ensuring that more environmental, energy, and climate change education makes it into the curriculum.
Of the 318 young Albertans polled, most of them from Grades 6 to 12, 53% “strongly believed” the province should take on such a role, reports CBC News. And 78% said they believed environmental protection could co-exist with a strong economy.
Asked where they currently learn about environmental issues, the students named social media first, followed by the news. School came third, with science classes the primary vehicle for whatever climate and energy education is currently on the books.
AYLEE member Subashini Thangadurai, a Grade 10 student from Calgary, is co-author of a white paper calling for climate education—and climate action—to be “integrated into all subjects.” She was also part of a working group that reviewed the province’s draft K-6 curriculum and recommended more content on environment, energy, and climate topics, CBC reports.
Avry Krywolt, a Grade 12 student from Airdrie who was involved in producing the survey, said the findings gave them hope, providing “concrete evidence” that climate change is something people care about.
A spokesperson for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said that the Kenney government “recognizes that current curriculum needs updating to ensure students learn about climate change.”