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  • Writer's pictureBridget Eileen

Support the 2021 Climate Literacy Act

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

2021 Climate Literacy Act

Senator Lawson (S-464) & Representative Cortvriend (H-5625)

The 2021 Climate Literacy Act would help ensure that all students attending public schools become environmentally and climate literate by the time they graduate from twelfth grade.


Nearly 10,000 students graduate from Rhode Island high schools each year, armed with skills and knowledge about the climate that inform their actions, and the effects on the climate, positive or negative, of each of those 10,000 students lasts beyond a lifetime. Climate change education helps our young people develop the skills and knowledge to embrace our growing green economy, take individual and collective action towards addressing environmental challenges, and be civically engaged with climate and environmental policies. 76% of Rhode Island parents and 86% of teachers nationwide support the teaching of climate change education in school.

The 2021 Climate Literacy Act

This bill requires the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), working with a group of practicing teachers, principals, and superintendents as well as members of the environmental and climate education community, to:

  1. develop a set of key environmental, climate, and sustainability principles to then be infused into the learning standards in science and social studies;

  2. disseminate lessons, activities, models, and materials related to the environment, including potential career paths;

  3. ensure that all RIDE teacher professional development in science and civics and social studies includes these key principles and concepts; and

  4. establish a "climate smart" award program to recognize high performing schools and a "green apple" award program to recognize K-12 teachers who provide high-quality environmental, climate, and sustainability instruction.

This bill is endorsed by the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association; National Education Association Rhode Island; RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals; Environment Council of Rhode Island; RI Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish & Wildlife; Audubon Society of Rhode Island; Save the Bay; and many others.

What Can You Do?


Contact Governor McKee ( and your own legislators (look up and then find contact info for your senator and your representative) to encourage them to support the 2021 Climate Literacy bill, S-464 by Senator Valarie Lawson and H-5625 by Representative Terri Cortvriend. Learn more here.


Contact the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association:, 401-569-8758

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