The climate emergency is widely understood to be one of the greatest challenges facing our world. It is affecting our environment and social fabric, and reshaping the ideas on how we should live our lives. While millions of young people from across the world are taking to the streets to demand climate action and justice, teachers are standing with their students and supporting the fight against the climate emergency. The world is changing and children and young people are demanding an education which is relevant to their futures. Children and young people want to learn more about how the world is changing and the steps society needs to take to ensure a sustainable future. Surely it is now high time to get the topic of tackling climate change into every classroom!
The ability of education to inspire, engage and empower people as well as inform people of the climate emergency, including its causes and impacts, are clearly acknowledged in international climate agreements. However, this recognition must be translated into action: we must ensure that climate change education is incorporated into school education, teaching and learning materials, and teacher training.
Despite some progress made in climate change education, many challenges remain. Climate change education is still relatively new in many countries, accounting for a general lack of awareness. There is a need for more technical, financial and human resources to scale up climate change education at the regional, national and local levels. UNESCO has published guidelines on how to promote climate literacy. Climate change education should be integrated into all levels and aspects of education systems. This requires coordination, support and resources.
Climate change can be a challenging topic for teachers to address with their students. Education on climate change is grounded in science – but it is also about behaviour and action. It is about the environment and economy, but also about equality and social organisation. It promotes future citizenship that is environmentally and socially responsible on a global scale. Teachers are change agents and can be at the forefront of the fight against climate change but they have to have the means to do so. That is why VVOB is facilitating S-Cool-Links: a network of teachers across the globe responding to the climate emergency through their teaching.
Photo credit: NY Times