The Circle Voice

Essential Enviro

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Photo: S. Conroy '19

Photo: S. Conroy '19

Photo: S. Conroy '19

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The yearlong Environmental Science course is often overlooked by Groton students. Many never step into Dr. Black’s classroom, opting for courses that are more popular and sometimes considered more useful. This year, for example, only 12 students take Environmental Science – far fewer than, say, Chemistry or Physics. This needs to change. Environmental science is not only changing rapidly, but its subject matter concerns us now more than ever. The solution: I propose a required term of Environmental Science for every student in upper school.

Many people will oppose this proposition due to scheduling conflicts. But some difficulty in scheduling does not outweigh overlooking an existential threat to the very planet we live on. Environmental science is at a turning point, and we must be informed about the harm humans are causing the planet. The global climate changes every day, inching towards catastrophe and setting us up for problems with food production and air quality.

 

And it doesn’t help that the United States’ political leadership is hostile to environmental initiatives. The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to reduce environmental protection, from cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), questioning the existence of climate change, and, just recently, levying a tariff on foreign solar products. As future leaders of the world, we must ask ourselves, in what condition do we want our world to be?

Dr. Black, the only environmental science teacher at Groton, says: “Like much of the country, many Groton students have only a passing understanding of the profound environmental issues which confront us today, and which will almost certainly increase in severity in the years to come.” Groton students can no longer afford to be misinformed about the environment.

A course concerning the wellbeing of our planet and species is no less important than biology or chemistry. This term-long requirement would not be a huge time commitment, but would greatly benefit the student body. During his time here, Dr. Black has seen students coming out of the Environmental Science course “taking positions of advocacy and effecting change.” Hopefully, a required term of this course will encourage more students to promote change and eventually study environmental science.

Since taking Enviro, I have striven to use less plastic, habitually turned the lights off in my room, and even become vegetarian. I’m not saying that every student must go to these lengths for environmental purposes, but Grotonians need to inform themselves about issues that concern our future. An environmental science requirement would educate the student body on at least the major issues coming our way regarding the environment. Educating the student body will not only serve in creating leaders that are more aware of the more dangerous environmental affairs today, but it will to prepare them for more environmental atrocities to come.

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