I went to high school in an area that was not particularly keen on sustainable practices or ecological woes. The school required the usual science courses such as anatomy, biology, and chemistry… however, they did not require any course related to environmental studies or environmental science. The only class I took related to environmental issues was an ecology class, which I had chosen to take as an elective. That one ecology class made an unmistakable impact on me as it further encouraged me to major in environmental studies. However, many of the students I graduated with had little to no knowledge of environmental issues and many didn’t even recycle.
All high schools across the country should have an environmental science course included in the required curriculum. Studies consistently show that when integrated into the core curricula or used as an integrating theme across the curriculum, environmental education increases student engagement in learning, improves student achievement and raises test scores (plt.org). Students in the United States are quickly falling behind students of other countries, not just in math and basic science, but in understanding and awareness. By not integrating environmental studies into the required curriculum, we are raising a generation of oblivious consumers. Not only are we consuming a shameful amount of resources, but we waste an unnecessary amount as well. If high school students are better educated to understand the products they buy as well as the manufacturing process that puts those products in their hands, it is likely that they will waste less and recycle more. Perhaps they won’t buy so many unnecessary things as well.