Why Climate Education is Crucial
A poll conducted by Oxfam in 2019 concluded that two-thirds of the teachers polled in the UK said that there should be more climate education in schools, while 70% of those teachers agreed “radical change was needed to make the education system fit for the times we live in.” A recent NPR poll in the US show similar results, with 86% of teachers polled believing climate change should be taught in classrooms, though only 42% are currently teaching it.
The effects of climate change are already being felt around the globe and, according to the latest IPCC report, we can expect rapid increases in the rate and severity of natural disasters, food insecurity, and loss of biodiversity in the coming years. With an eye on the clock, it’s crucial to establish a climate curriculum in every student’s education.
The coronavirus pandemic threw the world into a state of emergency, forcing national leaders and citizens alike to adjust to new regulations, lifestyles, and uncertainties. However, amidst the recent worldwide suffering and strain, we’ve seen individuals rise to the occasion and carry out truly honorable work—and one need look no further than the classroom for proof. Educators around the globe have shown a great capacity to adjust to student needs as well as a willingness to adapt their teaching styles and formats to do so. The educational system’s readiness to adapt to global problems is particularly encouraging in light of this climate change crisis knocking on our door – as long as they are given the time, guidance and resource to do so.
Luckily, in the U.K. many districts have committed to having climate-trained teachers in their classrooms and educators, alongside their students, have already protested the lack of governmental support for climate education as seen in the climate strike of 2019. Though the educational system in the U.K. may be adapting at a faster rate than those in countries such as the U.S., it’s still crucial to adopt a national curriculum that impresses the urgency of the climate crisis upon students--in a way that engages, educates and inspires, rather than increasing anxiety. Furthermore, we need teachers to connect the dots across subjects to expose the intersectional nature of this crisis.
At AimHi, we’re trying to help students and teachers connect those dots. Our live lessons are designed to spark curiosity, encourage engagement, and provide students with stellar mentors who are passionate about their fields of study. We put nature first in all our thinking at AimHi, and hope that the diversity of our courses—including inspiring lessons from renowned environmentalists such as Jane Goodall and Cal Major—give students a chance to find their own passion and place within the fight to reverse the climate crisis. Whether your child is interested in soil science, planet-saving seaweed, or how to get involved with local climate activism, we’re working on lessons that will change the way students see and interact with the world.
In the coming months we will be working with the Eden Project, the Rainforest trust and a multitude of charismatic speakers who will be delivering talks, tours and Q&A sessions at AimHi to bring more of these topics to life. We’re also developing a climate course for parents and teachers that will provide them with the confidence, content, and hopefully the enthusiasm to teach and discuss climate education more fully. Look out for these upcoming sessions on the website at www.aimhi.co.
Climate change will be the challenge of our children’s lifetime and it is our responsibility as teachers, parents, and community members to offer students the knowledge and tools to approach this intersectional, global issue with confidence—and a big dash of hope.