Congress has a responsibility to children, students, and future workforce participants to provide them opportunities that aid in the development of the knowledge and skills they will need for a more equitable, environmentally-just, and resilient future. The National Wildlife Federation works to ensure all children have access to licensed childcare and opportunities to spend quality time outdoors in a healthy manner and safe environment.
For the 117th Congress, legislative priorities should include passage of a new Climate Change Education Act that will provide $200 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make grants to schools, school districts, museums, aquariums and more to support K-12 and higher education climate literacy and skill development. In addition, we encourage passage of school greening and environmental justice legislation, a provision of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act that will provide $130 billion in infrastructure investments for the refurbishment of more than 30,000 K-12 schools in low income areas of the United States that have experienced systemic racial, economic, and environmental discrimination.
Congress should fully fund important climate education programs, including the EPA’s Environmental Education program, established under the National Environmental Education Act of 1990; the NOAA Environmental Literacy grant program; and Title 4 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which should include an increased focus on climate.
Now more than ever, the United States should increase its domestic and international capacity to ensure equitable, sustainable, and safe outdoor learning environments for children, primarily by building a strong climate education framework into commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and by adopting the Action for Climate Engagement Strategy.
Photo credits: Geoffrey Baker, Howard County Library (students with Certified Wildlife Habitat® sign)
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.