(CNSNews.com) - Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) told CNSNews.com at a "Sustainability Education Summit" hosted by the U.S. Education Department on Tuesday that environmental education in schools can "promote the agenda" of climate change and population growth through the influence it has on children.
“Like I keep saying over and over again, if you get young people invested in those ideas early on, that will result in those kinds of positive policy developments," Sarbanes told CNSNews.com. "So, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s population growth, whether it’s all these factors that impact the health of our world, raising that awareness early among young people is only going to promote the agenda.”
CNSNews.com interviewed Sarbanes after he spoke at a U.S. Department of Education event--"Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy"--hosted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Sarbanes also said; “If we can provide them with a framework and help promote educational opportunities, in the beginning as I said, at the earliest stages, they’ll just grab hold of it and take it from there. So in a sense it’s a wonderful partnership where the adults can create this policy framework and help support it with grant funding and other kinds of initiatives and then the young people are going to take that, and they’re the ones that are really going to push it to the next level.”
When asked if students should be taught that global warming is a threat, Sarbanes said: “If you’re promoting outdoor education, building that into educational programming, they [students] can’t help but understand about climate change because they’re going to see the effects of it. They’re going to go to a local science center , right, and they’re going to learn about the effect that global warming is having right in their own communities.
“I mean, for example, the National Audubon Society has an initiative now where they are highlighting the fact that state birds all across the county are actually migrating out of the states that they’re the state bird of because the climate is changing," said Sarbanes. "Well, a young person’s going to understand that if they are engaged in environmental education. So, it’s going to raise that awareness of climate change that, in turn, I think, can make them stewards, stakeholders in policy changes we have to make to try to address climate change going forward and so, another wonderful result that you can yield if you do this environmental education.”
John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology co-authored an essay for the World Bank on "The Meaning of Sustainability" that said that human race must face up to a “world of zero net physical growth,” reduce material consumption and limit population growth. CNSNews.com asked Rep. Sarbanes if he thinks those ideas would help the U.S. economy.
“I think the more you focus on the environment, the need to preserve the environment, protect the environment, the more it’s going to lead to sensible policies going forward,” he responded.
Rep. Sarbanes continued, “Sure, there’s so much we can do in terms of reducing our consumption of natural resources and that’s the lowest hanging fruit right? To implement conservative measures and so forth and again young people are in a position to help drive that new way of thinking.”