Op-ed: The Kids are Angry

(Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

By Wendy Thomas

March 4, 2024

The kids are angry. 

Last summer I was approached by climate advocates from 350NH, a New Hampshire-based climate justice organization. “Could we work on a bill that would create a more robust climate change curriculum in New Hampshire?” 

It was a good idea. I sat down with some of the youth leaders and we went back and forth for a bit. Should we introduce a bill knowing that the current attacks on public school funding and support would make any mandated changes to a curriculum highly unlikely or should we take a different approach? 

We finally decided to create a House Resolution (HR). An HR is a formal letter from the NH House of Representatives to another governing body. If passed, this resolution will go to the Commissioner of Education for New Hampshire, Frank Edleblut and it asks for him to consider making the current climate change curriculum more robust by adding topics like: 

  • An acknowledgment of the role of human activities in climate change
  • Historical background of fossil fuel’s contribution to climate change
  • Social implications of climate change including health and economic impacts and the impact on social discourse
  • Information about direct solutions to climate change and our role in it
  • Ways that students can make changes in their schools
  • Jobs that will be opening up in the renewable energy and climate change fields

Not only are the kids angry, but they want to be heard and they also want a seat at the table. This is their world too. This House Resolution allows advocates to speak up about climate change in front of policymakers. The team from 350NH has attended Board of Education meetings and has given a presentation on why it is so important to update the climate change curriculum. 

These youth advocates have written letters to the editor, prepared both written and verbal testimony, and planned rallies to get the word out. 

The kids have a plan — they will not be silenced. 

And they shouldn’t be. 

Climate change is a major life-threatening event that will only worsen unless we immediately take drastic action. The kids get it. 

Unfortunately, many of us who are older do not fully understand this. The older folks are afraid of change, afraid of the unknown, afraid to upset the apple cart. Sadly many people in my generation have been convinced that inaction is better than action. It seems we are willing to literally watch Rome burn from our reclining chairs. 

It’s a sickening approach that will end up harming us all. 

The kids know this. They want change, they want to be heard, and they want everyone to take action as soon as possible to try to contain the damage of climate change. 

They want to save the world — power to them. 

The kids are angry and that’s good. Their anger might just be what we need to make positive change in the world and I’m so here for it. 

Author

  • Wendy Thomas

    Wendy E. N. Thomas is an American microbiologist and politician who served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Hillsborough County's 21st district.

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