To call the “debate” around climate change “polarizing” would be an understatement. Few things are as fiercely fought against by a select few than the overwhelming evidence that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. Some pretty powerful interests are heavily invested in making people think that climate change isn’t real, and unfortunately, they’re pretty good at it.
According to a recent study by the National Center for Science Education, one in three middle school or high school science teachers, of the 1,500 surveyed, claim that many scientists disagree with climate change, despite the overwhelming facts that the scientific community agrees upon. Half of all teachers have allowed students to discuss the “controversy” of climate change without steering them towards the facts. And on average, most classes only spend a few hours in a given year talking about it, resulting in students who know next to nothing about climate change, its causes, or its dangers, much less the science behind it. It’s no wonder so many people think climate change is debatable.
It’s not entirely the fault of teachers though. Many are simply not well informed about the issue, and despite the plethora of useful, accurate information about climate change, they don’t have time to seek out and evaluate those sources. The majority of teachers want that extra information, even among those that deny scientific consensus, half of whom said they would take further training on climate change.
Although this is all rather bleak, there is hope that things can improve with further education of science teachers themselves. Disseminating that information should be a top priority for educators and science communicators. And it’s likely that it would help, too. Very few of the teachers were pressured to avoid teaching global warming, meaning that the problem is largely one of ignorance, not malice.