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Teaching Teachers to Teach Climate Science

This letter, by Solar One BFF Joy Garland, appeared in the December 28, 2017 Letters to the Editor in Town & Village newspaper.

Have you ever wondered how schools are preparing our students from kindergarten through high school to understand climate, how it affects us and what we can do about it? One solution that has been suggested is to reach out to the teacher training colleges who prepare the adult students to be teachers before they enter the children’s classrooms. Here in New York City, Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University are both participating with the New York CityDepartment Of Education (DOE) Office of Sustainability, to increase environmental and sustainability education for teachers and students. There is also an initiative from NYC DOE to strengthen the sustainability coordinator position in each public school.

We were delighted that State Senator Brian Kavanaugh was able to speak at the recent meeting of the Environmental Education Advisory Council (EEAC) dealing with the aforementioned issues. The senator spoke about initiatives on the environment that he sponsored when he served in the State Assembly before he won a spot in the State Senate recently. He also offered suggestions for helping to improve environmental and sustainability education in the schools.
Senator Kavanagh received a score of 100 from Environmental Advocates of New York who each year keeps track of how members of the Senate and Assembly vote on specific environmental bills.

The photograph above shows Sarah Pidgeon, Sen. Kavanagh and myself at the meeting. Sarah heads a team of teachers from Solar One in Stuyvesant Cove Park. Sarah’s team goes into schools in the five boroughs to prepare the students and teachers to learn about solar energy such as making small race cars powered by the sun. As the third person in the photo, I’m a member of the Steering Committee of EEAC that meets once a month at NYU. I live in Stuyvesant Town which is planning to put solar panels on every rooftop here by 2019 and we also do composting in every building!

Happy holidays and greetings to all our neighbors!

-Joy Garland, Stuyvesant Town