There's an important aspect of “going green,” that's often forgotten: education.
This new initiative, announced last week by several members of the City Council, supports environmentally focused programs and casts a wide net on the community. It would help encourage education and community service and also offer green-jobs training.
Creating green infrastructure is important and perhaps even more important – as it relates to real, hands-on tactics – is creating strict regulations for large manufacturing companies. None of that is possible, however, without an educational campaign.
Climate change should be taught rigorously in schools, alongside basics like algebra and the Civil War. It's a part of our cultural legacy and without education, there will never be a progress. Taking a fatalist approach and believing that the world is “too far gone” or that the causes aren't man-made are counterproductive.
One's personal belief can co-exist alongside education. You don't always have to agree with what you learn in school, but it's our duty to provide young people with the facts to let them form opinions for themselves.
This announcement, which coincided with Pope Francis' visit, who is increasingly become more of an environmental activists every time he speaks, could not have been timed more perfectly. Pope Francis famously posted on Twitter earlier this year that the world is increasingly become more of a “pile of filth.”
It's time for New York City to take the lead and heed Pope Francis' call. More educational resources for school children need to be made available, in their schools and in their communities. The next generation needs to know the facts and it's on this generation to do whatever they can to give them the full story.