Saturday, January 28, 2023

Play

A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

Play

Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

Play

"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

L.A.'s Lessons on Climate Change Balance Data with Hope

Play

Thursday, November 10, 2022   

By Caleigh Wells for KCRW.
Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public News Service Collaboration


Students in Brittany Jefferson's class can rattle off facts and opinions about deforestation, corporate greed, rising tides, warming temperatures, and the unequal plight of poorer countries as soon as the topic of climate change is introduced.

And most of them are just 10 years old.

"Because of global warming, and the amount of gas that we use, and the animals that we kill, and all the trash that we're putting in the ocean, we're just taking everything," says a fifth-grader named Jack at Citizens of the World Silver Lake charter school.

That doesn't mean these students are sanguine about ecological collapse.

"It makes me feel overwhelmed," says Hayoon, one of Jack's classmates. "If I was in the next generation, I would just cry and eat ice cream all day."

With greater knowledge comes greater anxiety. And while it's important to LA Unified School District administrators to educate kids about the warming world - this year the LAUSD board passed a resolution committing to incorporating climate literacy into existing curriculum - that leaves teachers grappling with how to inform children without traumatizing them.

"They don't have faith in the people powerful enough to make systemic changes," says fifth-grade teacher Jefferson. "And so they're just like, 'Yeah, the world is burning. And so we're gonna burn eventually.' And so that's something that I am working to combat."

Generational trauma

Kids like Jack and Hayoon are part of a cohort "that is experiencing much higher levels of anxiety than earlier generations," says David Bond, a licensed clinical social worker and trauma specialist. It was different for their parents, Bond says, who might think, "'Well, somebody else is going to figure that out.'"

"For young people," he continues, "they are the ones who have to figure this out. And also there's a sense [that] older generations aren't doing enough to mitigate the harm that we have done to the environment. So there's a sense of anger and frustration at older generations as well."

Citizens of the World Silver Lake fifth-grader Sawyer is ready to prove the point.

"I feel like we take it a bit more seriously than some adults because we actually care about having this earth, not having it turned into just like a wasteland," he says.

But that doesn't make Sawyer hopeful. "Eventually, this is just going to end up in a way that kills us all."

Lucy Garcia with Climate Reality Project, which helped spearhead LAUSD's climate literacy effort, knows this is a problem. She believes one way to combat anxiety is talking about it in the classroom. When it's ignored, she says, "That's where the trauma is worsened. So the most important thing is to be able to have them see that we are working on it, that we need their help ... [rather] than to ignore it. Because they see it anyway - this is the age of the internet."

Bond agrees that climate anxiety and the internet can create a problem for kids, because social media can become a place for teenagers to air their stress and anxiety publicly, which encourages doomscrolling.

Teacher Blossom Shores at Van Nuys Middle School says her best antidote to climate anxiety is teaching kids about solutions that are working.

"They're more perceptive than we realize," she says. "Yes, we want them to understand the gravity of it, but we don't want them to have dystopian reality fears. ... It's so important for them to feel empowered."

When Shores recently gave a climate talk to a class of Van Nuys Middle School sixth-graders, it started with some bleak statistics. But when she got to the back half of the presentation and started talking about the exponential growth of wind and solar energy, some students were more than ready to jump on the optimism bandwagon.

"Now there's a chance that global warming doesn't get worse," says one student named Luciana.

Her classmate Tyler was glad to see some of the good news, but says it still doesn't outweigh the bad news.

"It hasn't done so just yet, but I hope it will in the future."

Caleigh Wells wrote this article for KCRW.


get more stories like this via email

New data show in California, 2021-22 state testing scores are even lower than the state's historically low testing scores. (Rawpixel/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…


Social Issues

Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …

Social Issues

A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …


From February 2020 to November 2021, the number of workers in nursing homes and other care facilities dropped by 410,000 nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…

In a national survey, Michigan was ranked 27th among the 50 states for its cost, access and quality of long-term care supports and services. California was ranked first. (Flickr)

Social Issues

In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…

Social Issues

By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …

Social Issues

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021