Global body puts climate in classroom

Education International, representing 32.5 million teachers and education support personnel worldwide, has launched a global campaign to ensure climate education becomes as fundamental as teaching reading and writing.

The theme for Earth Day 2021 on 22 April is “Restore Our Earth,” which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. The theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change.

To coincide with Earth Day, Education International (EI) – the world’s peak education union body – held a global education summit “Teach for the Planet” and released its “manifesto” for teaching climate change.

EI launched its campaign with the Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit on 21 April from 1pm to 4pm (Central European Summer Time), with a multilingual virtual event feature inspiring teachers, student leaders, prominent activists, engaged ministers, and examples from every continent focused on the crucial role that educators and their unions play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now.

The organisation’s Manifesto on Quality Climate Change Education for All adopts the following principles:

  1. Governments commit to quality climate change education for all, and ensure education unions, student organisations, and indigenous groups are part of the development, implementation, and evaluation of CCE policies.
  2. Every student leaves education climate-literate and equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle climate change, adapt to uncertainties, and take part in building a more sustainable future.
  3. Quality climate change education is based on science, and addresses the ethical, cultural, political, social and economic dimensions of climate change.
  4. Teachers are trained and supported to provide quality climate change education.
  5. Schools and learning environments are transformed, to support quality climate change education.

The first Earth Day was in 1970 and has since grown to be observed by more than 1 billion people in 192 countries, making it the largest civic observance in the world.