The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2015
Contact: Shachar Sharon

On Earth Day: Constantinides Calls for Climate Change Education

New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) rallied today in support of his Res. 375, which calls on New York State to include climate change in the K-12 curriculum.

Currently, climate change is limited to a small area in the science curriculum. While the mechanics of climate change are based in science, the effects of climate change encompass many subjects including agriculture, economics, government and even national security. Res. 375 asks the state to make climate change into a standalone lesson.

Constantinides said, “Earth Day is a time to consider how our actions impact our planet’s future. We have already committed to reducing our carbon emissions citywide by 80% by 2050. We must help our children understand how carbon emissions impact climate change, as well as how the risks of climate change impacts everything from our national security to our global economy. Climate Change can’t be reduced to a mere bullet point on a science syllabus – it has to be a standalone lesson in itself. No one will feel the effects of climate change more than our children. That’s why it’s so important that we provide them with the knowledge and 21st Century concepts they’ll need to care for our planet.”

Constantinides was joined in support by EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, the Alliance for Climate Education, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and youth advocacy group Global Kids, Inc.

“Climate change is one of the most serious environmental, health and economic issues facing our nation. It is important that young people be educated about the details of the climate change issue. The more educated young people are on this issue, the more likely that they will be part of the solution,” said Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency.

“ACE empowers young people to have a voice when it comes to their own climate-impacted futures. Several of our New York Action Fellows were directly affected by Hurricane Sandy. They know firsthand how urgent it is that we understand and take action on climate change. They are leading the way for the rest of the nation, ensuring every child has access to climate education. We are deeply appreciative of the New York City Council, especially Councilman Constantinides, for support in helping our Fellows bring climate education to the forefront,” said Matt Lappé, Executive Director, Alliance for Climate Education

“The earth is our responsibility. In order to care for it, we need to know the facts about climate change. We need climate education for all students,” said Kazi Ateea, 16, Global Kids student leader.

“The disruption of our climate caused by the burning of fossil fuels is an issue that will affect the lives of all New Yorkers across the state (and beyond) for decades to come. It makes perfect sense that our schools adopt a comprehensive, broad-based curriculum so that our children will be knowledgeable about the facts of global warming and the multiple ways in which their lives will be impacted, so they can be better prepared to deal with changing weather patterns. Three cheers for Councilmember Constantinides and his City Council colleagues for advancing this important resolution,” said Eric A. Goldstein, NYC Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Today the study of climate change is an important component of a sound and relevant education,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair to the Committee on Environmental Protection. “While the study of climate change is relegated to the sciences, the reach will extend far beyond that traditional scope. I am proud to stand with Council Member Constantinides, EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, students and advocates in full support of climate change education in our primary, elementary and secondary schools to fully prepare our children for their future.”

According to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), it’s important for climate change to be taught, both in formal and informal educational environments, in order for future citizens to be able to make scientifically-informed decisions about its consequences. In an August 1, 2014 memo to her colleagues, Senator Patty Murray, former Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, states that climate change will have serious ramifications for the United States economy and the federal budget and failure to confront it will make it harder to meet our county’s long-term fiscal challenges.

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.
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