"We Must Treat Climate Change as an Education Emergency" by Adam Brumer
Education Week, September 29, 2021
In Lydia Millet's dystopian A Children's Bible, a group of loosely connected children face life in a world of cataclysmic storms and without the wisdom of adults. The adults, so to speak, have left the building, too distressed and concerned with themselves to teach their children well, or at all. The children in Millet's novel have no choice but to brave the elements on their own, innovating to survive. When it comes to the future of climate change, will reality be stranger than this fiction? In his recent Education Week opinion piece, Adam Brumer draws our attention to human-caused climate change as an urgent topic of study in K-12 schools. A California native who taught in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Brumer has first-hand knowledge of the impact of physical and environmental disruption – both on himself as a student and on his own students. Brumer appeals to educators to rally behind "climate change as an education priority" and to raise its importance at both the school and policy levels. He notes the salience of the moment as the Biden Administration seeks to bring about greater environmental justice by allocating resources to support communities disproportionately impacted by climate changes and disruptions. "Connections between climate change and learning outcomes are well documented," Brumer asserts, noting the relationship between how children live their daily lives and whether they arrive to school ready to learn. In the end, though, Brumer argues that "climate crisis affects all children" and is an adult-created problem that educators are well-positioned to help solve.