When I was in my first year of high school, I started a club to promote recycling and beautification within my community. Just three years later, at the age of 17, I sued my state of Pennsylvania for not taking adequate actions to address climate change. All the while, I lived below the poverty line in a small Appalachian community where environmental endeavors were not always thought about or smiled upon.

Who inspired me to dive so deeply into environmentalism, supported my efforts and ideas? A science teacher.

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A recent survey by the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment found that only 16% Americans believe there is no solid evidence for global warming.

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Recently, I was invited to the White House’s Back-to-School Climate Education Event. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, head of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), encouraged us educators to help our students understand the “dynamics of our planet”. Teaching climate science does just that.

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This past week my e-mail in-box has been filling up with messages about Utah.

“Have you seen what’s going on there?” people are asking me. “They are trying to write climate denial into the standards!”

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If you follow NCSE, you know that we are big supporters of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Unlike many state science standards that are simply a list of scientific topics, the NGSS challenges students to seek out and evaluate evidence, build scientific arguments, and engineer solutions. It is straightforward about the science and unabashed about the scientific consensus.

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Scott Hatfield was one of NCSE’s Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners. He teaches biology at Bullard High School, in Fresno, California. Teachers can apply for a scholarship on next year's trip, and you can donate to the scholarship fund or sign up for the trip now.

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