climate change education
Should climate change and sustainability education be made compulsory in schools? Source: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

As climate change fears continue to creep in and sustainability strategies are implemented across the globe, there’s no escaping the 1.5 °C reality.

From shrinking ice sheets to ocean acidification, the effects of global warming are wreaking devastation around the globe.

“Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

“Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities,” notes NASA.

If the planet doesn’t keep a steady eye on the Earth’s climate instabilities and fails to implement change, our bright and healthy future will melt alongside ice glaciers and stunning natural environments.

But if today’s youth aren’t adequately educated about the reality of climate change, its effects and the ways the planet can prevent it, how will positive changes continue to happen and impactful solutions be implemented?

climate change education

Should the planet be the priority in school lessons? Source: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Acknowledging the urgency of global warming and dedicated to educating school children about sustainability and climate change, there’s one country that has already made a move to include these subjects in the school curriculum.

By making sustainability and climate crisis education compulsory in schools, Italy is to become the first country in the world to make these subjects compulsory.

Using the school curricula as a tool to combat climate change, education may be the answer to a healthier future and a sustainable living environment for all.

From his recent interview with Reuters in Rome, Italy’s Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti outlined the country’s plans to enforce schools to put aside one school hour per week for climate change education, amounting to 33 hours per year.

“The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the centre of the education model…I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school,” he reveals.

A bold and beneficial step forward for the future of Italy’s youth and the planet, could this trigger other countries to follow suit?

climate change education

Italy hopes to combat climate change through school curricula. Source: Harrison Moore/Unsplash

With climate change and sustainability themes being woven into the curriculum, many schools are making students aware of the harsh realities, but these crucial subjects are still yet to be made compulsory in the majority of schools worldwide.

For instance, a study co-authored by a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, named Climate science curricula in Canadian secondary schools, chose to analyse the high school curricula of every Canadian province to determine how comprehensive their content on climate change was.

They found that Saskatchewan and Ontario had the best science curriculum for climate change education in the country as they addressed physical climate mechanisms, observed increase in temperature, included anthropogenic causes of warming, a scientific consensus, negative consequences associated with warming and the possibility for avoiding the worst effects.

“The greenhouse effect was the most commonly addressed topic amongst different provinces, with every province and territory covering the subject, and most in a mandatory course. Three provinces (Alberta, Northwest Territories and Yukon) only covered climate change in non-mandatory courses,” notes the study.

Despite covering all the important aspects during science lessons, such as the greenhouse effect and the negative links to global warming, there may yet to be a compulsory subject planted into Canada’s school curricula.

Yet, one thing is for certain for schools around the world: Italy has ignited global awareness of climate change and sustainability education, and other countries should be casting their attention towards securing that second place position…

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