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Why Climate Change Is an Education Issue

Apathy and ignorance pervade the climate change debate, with seven in ten Americans unconcerned that climate change will personally harm them, and 40% of adults worldwide ignorant of the reality of climate change altogether. The solution to both problems is broader access to quality education.

NEW YORK – Climate change affects us all, but we still are not acting as quickly as we should to address its causes, mitigate the damage, and adapt to its effects. Many people don’t understand the risks climate change poses to global economic and social structures. And, sadly, many who do understand are dismissive of the far-reaching benefits a global shift to sustainability and clean energy would bring about.

According to a recent Pew study, seven out of ten Americans classified as political independents were not very concerned that climate change would hurt them. Worse still, Yale University researchers recently found that 40% of adults worldwide have never even heard of climate change. In some developing countries, such as India, that figure climbs to 65%.

These figures are discouraging, but they can be improved. The Yale study concluded that, “educational attainment tends to be the single strongest predictor of public awareness of climate change.” By investing in quality education, we can set the next generation on the right path to addressing this global problem.

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