by Hayd Mohamed & Leonie Schiedek
Do you know the reasons why education is key to addressing climate change?
Following on from the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), education can assist individuals in changing their attitudes and behaviours as well as assisting them in making informed choices . Knowing the facts helps dispel fear surrounding an issue that is frequently characterized by doom and gloom in the public sphere. Everyone benefits from education about climate change, effects of global warming and how to adapt to it, but children and adolescents are especially motivated to act.
The debates around climate change have risen to prominence in recent years. However, extending this discussion into the classroom is proving to be much slower; 41% of teachers in the United Kingdom (UK) stated that it was never mentioned or if very rarely in the classroom . With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stating that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land” understanding our impact on the earth is even more important than ever, particularly when it comes to educating children and young people .
The current curriculum across the UK does touch on the impacts of climate change across all years. However ,this continued engagement of young people’s understanding of current and future climatic issues that we face fall onto them as they progress and begin to specialise in a study area . There are calls that humans’ relationship with Earth and our impacts need to be understood more strenuously and from an educational perspective given how multi-dimensional the issue is. However, the importance of education in helping to mitigate and adapt to issues that we face from the onset is key in our fight to combat climate change.
Hayd and Leonie interviewed Cindy Forde, the founder of Planetari, an education platform aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that equips children to be the innovators of a better world, to find out more about this topic. Cindy further elaborates on the questions of what kind of education we need to make children the change makers of tomorrow, what she would tell global climate policy leaders and what children would do differently if they would be in power to make decisions.
If you want to know more about Cindy’s work, check out Planetari or get in touch with Cindy directly: Cindy@Planetari.World. Cindy’s new children’s book “Bright New World” will be available in 2022.
References: UNFCCC. n.d. Education is key to addressing climate change. Available at: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/climate-solutions/education-key-addressing-climate-change [Accessed 12 August 2021].
 inews. 2021. Seven in 10 UK teachers say they have not been properly trained to teach about climate change. [online] Available at: https://inews.co.uk/news/education/climate-change-uk-teachers-training-teach-global-warming-schools-914301 [Accessed 12 August 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. Climate change: IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58130705 [Accessed 12 August 2021].
 The Guardian. 2020. The national curriculum barely mentions the climate crisis. Children deserve better | Fiona Harvey. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/11/the-national-curriculum-barely-mentions-the-climate-crisis-children-deserve-better [Accessed 13 August 2021].