Gopal Introduces Bill to Empower Students in Fight Against Climate Change

06/17/19 | News

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Following a report that at least 9 New Jersey cities are likely to be underwater within the century due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, State Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey joined Senator Vin Gopal to introduce legislation this month that would require schools to teach students about climate change as part of the science curriculum in middle and high school.

“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, and as a clear result of human activity,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch).

“We’ve already seen indications of its progression as hurricanes have grown increasingly severe while floods and blizzards have devastated huge parts of our state’s infrastructure. Climate change is not somebody else’s problem – it’s an enormous and direct threat to New Jersey’s economy and our residents’ quality of life. To fight back, our children will need to know exactly what we’re facing, how we got here, and how we can reverse the effects before it’s too late.”

“When my own nine-year-old daughter looked up the word ‘extinct’ and found reports on how humans may go extinct if climate change isn’t addressed, I wanted more than anything to tell her not to worry,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “After all, no child should have to concern themselves with such issues – but our contributions to the planet’s rising temperature have taken that privilege away from them. Like it or not, our generation has left our children and grandchildren with a bill that they’ll have to pay, and we have an obligation to give students the tools they’ll need to protect their planet and communities from these growing threats.”

“Our own National Climate Assessment forecasts that climate change will have a brutal impact on New Jersey in the coming years, and on areas of interest as diverse as health, food security, transportation, and clean water,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “We need to make sure that our children understand that they have a responsibility to our planet, and that they complete their education with the knowledge that they have the power to defend and improve their quality of life. With this understanding, we can help build a foundation that allows them to be responsible citizens, dedicated stewards of their environment, and upstanding leaders.”