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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Environmental Legislation Awareness Opens Doors for Students’ Futures

Environmental+legislation+that+directly+affects+individuals+can+teach+students+crucial+life+skills+that+can+help+them+with+decision-making+not+only+in+the+environmental+sector+but+also+their+day-to-day+lives.+
Mary Lee
Environmental legislation that directly affects individuals can teach students crucial life skills that can help them with decision-making not only in the environmental sector but also their day-to-day lives.

The City of Irvine halted a single-use plastics ban proposal on Nov. 28 which would prohibit these items in food and retail services if enacted, according to the OC Register

This recent ordinance — a potential plastics ban that could directly impact individuals who utilize single-use plastic in Irvine — emphasizes the dire necessity of increased environmental awareness, especially as climate change continues to pose health risks and undermine ecosystems. 

Community members should be aware about local environmental legislation updates. Through a monthly digital interactive bulletin briefing updates or changes to environmental policies in the city that month, schools in IUSD can further educate students on climate-based changes in their local community. 

The importance of environmental knowledge and awareness is not new: becoming educated about the environment and its current affairs can alter individuals’ perceptions of the Earth, which in turn can push for climate action. This literacy can also benefit individuals in multiple areas of their life that are not directly related to the environment; for example, such knowledge can contribute to critical thinking and problem-solving skills, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Climate-based legislation also can change humans’ approach to nature, whether through advocating for renewable resources or holding industries accountable for their carbon emissions, according to the American Public University

Moreover, environmental legislation impacts students’ futures. The toll of the climate change discussion on younger generations is already evident: over half of 16-to-25-year-olds reported a negative view of humanity in relation to climate change in a survey by The Lancet, according to Yale Environment 360

By becoming educated about the environmental laws in their vicinity, the generation that will make social, economic and political decisions in the next decades can learn about the factors that constitute effective climate action. These factors may include the history of the city’s environmental policies and the current economic state of the region. Even if students do not officially pursue environmental policy studies in their career, the insight they can gain can help them make prudent or beneficial choices through adulthood, especially in the STEM field. 

“If you look at the course catalog of a lot of different colleges, there’s a lot of biology for sustainability, sustainable chemistry, green chemistry,” senior Ian Yoon, who began studying environmental legislation in ninth grade, said. “So there’s a lot of different career opportunities, and it’s definitely just important for everyday life because it’s going to affect us in the future, and it can be an important consideration in that regard.”

Some critics may argue that the constantly changing legislation undermines why students should learn about the environmental laws in the first place: the number of environmental laws in 2019 is 38 times as that of 1972, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. And while being updated on every single change may seem unrealistic, a main goal for informing students on this topic is to expand their knowledge about how law impacts environments. Each change can deepen students’ understanding of environmental policy since it is a revision or adjustment made in response to current priorities, needs or demands of the area. 

Recalling the timeless adage “a little goes a long way,” climate legislation awareness can help students gain insight on the ways their environment is currently governed. This digital bulletin, which can be promoted through a QR code for students to scan and explore on their own, is a direct method for schools to increase exposure to the topic of environmental legislation. Through its digitized medium, the bulletin can include both videos and articles about relevant environmental legislation, appealing to students who enjoy learning through different mediums. This exposure, provided through the form of awareness, can help students pursue interests oriented towards environmental legislation. 

“Everybody has different passions,” Marine Ecology and Zoology and Chemistry teacher Jeralyn Newton said. “Find your thing, even if it seems really small, and follow it, research it, learn about it.” 

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About the Contributor
Mary Lee, Staff Writer
Mary Lee is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. Unless she is refreshing her Google Classroom page to check for any announcements or assignment updates from her teachers, you can find her listening to flutist Sir James Galway and gawking at his impeccable tone and musicality. She hopes to learn about diverse perspectives on and off campus, one pomodoro at a time. Widening her writing experience is a life goal, and she is confident the Portola Pilot will bring her one step closer to reaching it.
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