Maine’s Youth Deserve Climate Education

by Abigail Bradford

I didn’t learn the full science of climate change until I majored in that subject at UMaine Orono. We are in a climate emergency, and yet the science behind our rapidly changing climate and what we must do to curb the crisis was largely glossed over in my public K-12 education in Maine.

If we are going to build a healthier, more equitable, and just clean energy future for all Mainers, we cannot leave young minds and hearts out of the solution. Maine students shouldn’t have to go to college, or major in climate science to gain that vital information. Thankfully, there’s a bill this legislative session that would help remedy this problem.

LD 1902 – legislation forwarded by countless youth-led, climate action, social justice, environmental, and education advocacy groups across Maine (see a list below!) – would support equitable access to climate change education by funding professional development for Maine teachers.

The bill has overwhelming support from Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition – a partnership of nearly 40 organizations – which has named this legislation one of its seven priority bills this session.

Now more than ever, it is uniquely challenging to be a teacher. If this bill becomes law, Maine’s educators would be supported with training and funding to include climate education in their curriculum no matter what subject they teach.

Sponsored by Rep. Lydia Blume (York), LD 1902 would help provide Maine students with the tools they need to help be a part of solutions that will propel Maine toward a clean, equitable, and green future. Rep. Blume puts it best in her recent commentary to the Portland Press Herald:

“I look forward to continuing to advocate for my bill to pilot a climate education grant program in Maine and ensuring that, with it, school districts from lower-income areas will be prioritized in getting access to these resources and partnerships. It’s critical and timely that we give young Mainers, no matter their economic status, ZIP code or race, the tools to live, work and succeed on a rapidly warming planet.”

We must equip young people in Maine with climate education and in doing so, we can inspire our youth to take on careers in agriculture, renewable energy, forestry, and more – careers that will help bolster our green economy and combat climate change.

Click here to join our email list to stay informed about this issue and others that Maine Conservation Voters is working on this session.

We thank the organizations leading efforts to support LD 1902. They include: The Climate Initiative, Coastal Youth Climate Coalition, The Ecology School, Gateway Community Services, Maine Audubon, Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) & MEEA Changemakers, Maine Public Health Association, Maine Science Teachers Association, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Nature Based Education Consortium, The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Norway Youth Climate Action, Sierra Club – Maine Chapter, 350 Maine, and more!