An international campaign to make climate change education compulsory in all schools – to support the growth of the green economy – is attracting backing from a growing range of organisations in more than 100 countries.
From international labour unions representing over 200 million members and teachers’ unions covering 178 countries, to environmental groups, NGOs, and mayors around the world, supporters strongly believe adding climate literacy to school curricula is key to solving the climate crisis facing humanity.
The matter is likely to be on the agenda at a UN climate summit in Glasgow, UK in November, and could be incorporated into the Paris Agreement.
Supporters of the idea believe that climate education should be coupled with a strong civic engagement component.
“Coordinators of the campaign are transforming climate education from a ‘nice-to-have’ into a core subject for school curricula world-wide.
“In doing so, governments can ensure young people leave school with the skills and environmental knowledge needed to be engaged citizens in their communities and places of work,” a statement from the group said.
It said that a climate-educated and environmentally literate global public is likely to be better placed to take part in the green jobs revolution, make better sustainable consumer choices, become the next generation of sustainable entrepreneurs, and hold leaders to account.
“The need for climate and environmental literacy has never been greater. We are at a critical crossroads in terms of the earth’s timeline for restoration,” said Kathleen Rogers, president, Earthday.org.
“Climate education will prepare youth across a range of positive fronts– from stimulating a rapidly growing global green economy to holding their officials accountable. Indeed, I am convinced that competitiveness in the 21st century will increasingly be linked to the quality of environmental literacy among a nation’s citizens.”
“The climate crisis is increasingly touching every country, community, and school across the globe. Teachers are reporting that many young pupils are showing signs of fear and of anxiety about their futures,” said Haldis Holst, deputy general secretary of Educational International.
“A commitment to put climate education into the core of curricula is thus not just about equipping youth with the skills and the knowledge they will need as adults. It is also about healing, hope and engagement in the solutions that can, if the world steps up ambition, solve this crisis in time.”