Washington State Climate Change Graduation Requirement

Washington State Climate Change Graduation Requirement

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Zach Watson started this petition to Washington State Board of Education and

"Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it." - United Nations

Our Proposal

Washington State Board of Education should make it a graduation requirement for every high school student to take a semester long class on climate change. This class would cover the following topics:

  • Basic environmental science
  • The specific causes of climate change
  • The impacts of climate change on society and our planet
  • Potential small and large scale solutions for climate change
  • Sustainability
  • Economic and political factors involved in climate change and its solution
  • How individuals, organizations, and societies can be more sustainable and combat climate change
  • Other pressing environmental issues


Climate change is a big problem facing our society. It is a problem that will not go away anytime soon, and that we cannot ignore. Climate change will impact humanity in a way that will demand a response, and will create a lot of challenges to overcome. The United Nations says “there is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society.”

If you are not yet convinced that this is an important issue, we implore you to learn more about climate change.

How does this connect to education?

Education is a fundamental aspect of properly responding to climate change. As a society, we need to make many major changes to our way of life, and find creative solutions to the many challenges that will come with doing so. In order to achieve this, we must prepare kids coming out of high school to face these tasks. It very difficult to solve a problem you are not aware of or do not understand. Education is necessary because it:

  • Promotes a more sustainable lifestyle
  • Creates more informed and responsible voters
  • Inspires action
  • Enables youth to find solutions to complex problems
  • Prepares youth for future careers

Given the urgency and importance of responding to climate change on a societal level, it seems obvious that we need to be educating our children. Yet right now, this education is seriously lacking. In Washington State, kids are required to take two years of art classes, two years of health and fitness classes, four years of english, two years of foreign language, but not a single semester of any sort of environmental science or climate change education.

This lack of education in our society is obvious. A study done in 2018 showed that only 64% of Americans believe global warming is caused by human activity, while 97% of scientists stand by this fact. If not even these most basic facts are understood by the American public, then we clearly do not have enough knowledge as a society to combat climate change. Implementing mandatory education in public schools is a great first step to fill this knowledge gap.

Climate change is a very serious issue facing our society. It is an issue that the current education system is not preparing young people for. Making a mandatory environmental science class for all high school students is one of the best things we can do to insure progress, because it will prepare the next generations to tackle these issues head on.




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