Save The Bay submits testimony in support of the Climate Literacy Act
To: The Rhode Island Senate Committee on Education
From: Jed Thorp, Save The Bay Advocacy Coordinator
Date: April 14, 2021
Re: S. 464 – Relating to Education – The Climate Literacy Act
Sponsors: Sens. Lawson, Euer, Cano, Sosnowski, Murray, Seveney, Miller, Kallman, Quezada, Lombardi
Save The Bay appreciates the opportunity to provide testimony on S. 464, a bill that would help ensure that all students attending public schools become environmentally and climate literate by the time they graduate from 12th grade. Save The Bay supports this bill and we urge the Committee to pass it.
Save The Bay recently celebrated our 50th birthday. Most people who are aware of Save The Bay’s work know of our advocacy efforts to improve and protect Narragansett Bay. However, an increasingly important part of our work is our marine science education program, which started in 1986. Save The Bay’s “Explore the Bay” education program works with 15,000 students annually through our school day and afterschool programming. Addressing climate change is part of our mission and therefore inherent in almost all facets of our education programming.
We can see the impacts of climate change along our shorelines, in our salt marshes and in our bay with our students. However, there is currently no requirement when it comes to climate education in Rhode Island. We have a duty to ourselves, our children, and our bay to create a climate literate citizenry. Climate change education will give our students the skills and knowledge to engage with environmental issues facing our state and country as well as the ability to embrace our growing green economy. Save The Bay is willing and able to be a resource to our teachers by providing professional development, materials, lessons and hands-on programming.
76% of Rhode Island parentsi and 86% of teachers nationwideii support the teaching of climate change education in school. In addition to Save The Bay, this bill is endorsed by the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association, National Education Association Rhode Island, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Environment Council of Rhode Island, and others.
Thank you for considering Save The Bay’s comments.