To protect the planet's future we need to think critically about the pastby Amanda Power / February 27, 2020 / Leave a comment
If radical action to reduce emissions isn’t taken in the next decade or so, many of today’s schoolchildren could live in a world that’s 3℃ or 4℃ hotter by the time they enter their later years. Their working lives would be defined by routine weather extremes, widespread crop failures and catastrophic sea level rise.
With such grim prospects, the natural question facing young people is how did we get here? School climate strikers and the student-led Teach the Future campaign have called for wholesale reform of the education system to help answer this, and prepare the younger generation for facing a future of intensifying climate and ecological crisis.
But the UK currently has no formal training or support for teachers to carry out “climate education.” There is so little space in the curriculum that some schools teach it in PSHE, along with sex education, or “British values.” Without clear guidance, schools might use materials designed to mislead students about the science.
The situation is now so bad that simply telling the truth about the climate crisis in the classroom also raises serious questions about the effect on a child’s mental health. Parents could be forgiven for not wanting their children to hear it.
But even a curriculum that offers a better grasp of the facts of climate change and opportunities to reconnect with the natural world might not be effective on its own. Climate action will require fundamental and rapid changes in all spheres of life. Children need to know why we are in this situation, and what must come next.
Teachers have a crucial role to play in this process. They will have to help young people critique and rethink the deeply ingrained assumptions, attitudes and expectations that run throughout history, and now endanger much of life on Earth.Climate in the classroom
The history curriculum in the UK doesn’t list climate change among its examples of “challenges…