Since its launch just two months ago, the international campaign to secure stepped up ambition on climate education and support the growth of the green economy is attracting rapid backing from a growing range of diverse 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 a long overdue key to solving the climate crisis facing humanity.
Supporters are making a simple but powerful plea to the governments set to meet in Glasgow, the UK next November for the critical UN climate summit (COP26): Climate education must be compulsory, assessed and 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 worldwide. 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 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.”
Backers of the campaign have been advocating for climate literacy in their communities and igniting a movement around the world.
“The global climate crisis is increasingly touching every corner of the world. As educators, we know that Black, Brown, Indigenous, and under-resourced students and their communities are disproportionately affected by the many negative consequences of climate change. Combating climate change requires collective action from all of us, and that includes public education. Unfortunately, the education sector is often left out of these critical conversations. Integrating climate literacy to school curricula is a crucial next and right step in solving the climate crisis and in working toward climate justice,” said Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association.
Haldis Holst, Deputy General Secretary of Educational International, said, “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. 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.”
In addition to organisations, individuals can now support EARTHDAY.ORG’s climate literacy initiative by signing on to a letter addressed to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary to urge governments make climate education compulsory, assessed and linked to civic engagement.