Why we're advocating for climate education

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on education like never before. With over a billion students facing some kind of disruption to their learning, the virus has exposed the depths of pre-existing educational inequalities as well as sparking growing calls for a re-imagination of our education systems.

At World’s Largest Lesson we have always believed in the power of education and its ability to transform lives and equip children with the skills and values to tackle global challenges. Education systems should benefit children everywhere, providing them with the opportunity for real-life learning and the prioritisation of collective wellbeing. 

That is why the World's Largest Lesson is calling for climate and environmental education to be implemented in national curriculums around the world. Not only is there a dire need for it and for the transformation to a green economy and jobs, but we also know it is what teachers and crucially, students want.

Research by EARTHDAY.ORG shows that even in the countries where climate and environmental education is included in curriculums, it is often lacking in implementation and too focused on the understanding of the cognitive science aspects rather than taking a holistic view at the emotional, social and economic pillars of climate and environmental education. 

Although recent news from New Zealand, Italy and the US state of New Jersey is encouraging, the need to ensure consistent and broad implementation across nations is acute.

OUR SOLUTION

In 2021 World’s Largest Lesson will launch a child-led campaign, facilitating students in their call for universal climate and environmental education. We will create a fun and interactive toolkit, leading children through activities that culminate in producing a written call to action for climate and environmental education that they can share with decision makers. It will be a creative literacy and civic activity that can work in any learning setting. 

In launching this campaign, we hope every child, everywhere will have the opportunity to have climate and environmental education which seeks to:

  • Be inclusive and interconnected – An education that looks at the economic, social as well as environmental issues of the climate and ecological crisis, looking at and drawing upon the knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and the need for nature-based solutions.
  • Action focused - provide students with the opportunity to implement their learning through inquiry and project-based learning that they can replicate in the real world.  
  • Connect students to nature - helping them foster a sense of wonder in the natural world and build a positive relationship with it, for we cannot ask students to protect something they have no positive experience of.
OUR AMBITION

In order to achieve the targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the Global Goals by 2030, we have to see education as the key to accelerating progress and action. By giving children and young people the opportunity, skills and values to be a climate and environmentally literate generation, we increase our chances of success.

We will work with educators, climate campaigners and most importantly children themselves. Our shared aim will be that when the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) finally happens, in November 2021, world leaders stand up and tell us how they will meet their commitments to provide climate education. If you can support this work, we’d love to hear from you.    

World’s Largest Lesson will be launching their Climate and Environmental Educational Advocacy ask in early 2021. For more information and if you would like to be involved please email: kinvara@project-everyone.org