Santa Rosa High School is now offering an AP Environmental Science class. The class is taught by Brianne Brawley and has taken five years to set up at SRHS. During an interview with Brawley, she said, “I believe it’s one of the most important classes taught at the school because we are people living on a shared planet with limited finite resources and we are all experiencing the impacts of humanity on the earth.” This class brings awareness to the topic of not only climate change, but all human impacts on ecosystems and our planet as a whole.
Brawley is most excited to teach about pollution. It often surprises students to learn of the extent that pollution affects our Earth. This is because many of the ways in which governments deal with waste are against what people would think; it’s not ecologically sound. The topic of pollution, furthermore, brings enthusiasm to the class because students want to do something about this issue and create their own individual change.
Additionally, one of the major challenges of this class is that it’s new. Since it’s an AP class, it’s geared toward preparing students for the high-stakes test at the end of the year and specific information has to be covered. It takes time to figure out what labs and activities work, and which don’t. Most courses take four to five years to develop, but this class is only on it’s first year.
Brawley advises students not to get discouraged. Heavy topics are discussed in the course, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There aren’t isn’t much students, as individuals, can do to combat climate change, but just by learning about these topics, students can spread awareness which can make a positive impact over time. “Don’t get downtrodden by the content of the topic, even though it’s heavy; it’s a heavy load to bear. The more that we educate other people about it and reach out and make small changes, hopefully we won’t have to teach this course in the same way in 10 years from now,” said Brawley.
Even though this class often focuses on upsetting subjects, such as climate change, it teaches students important information about the world. This can lead to positive changes through spreading awareness and making small life changes.