“Saving the Planet hurts the local economy” – Climate Change makes its way into the world’s classrooms

Ok – it has taken up the whole 10 years of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development but the day before Earth Day, April 22nd, a global newspaper, The International New York Times, published a half page article on the role of and the need for education for sustainable development with a specific focus on teaching climate change in schools. Hundreds, if not thousands of articles have been published about climate change and sustainable development but rarely do they make a reference to the role of education, teaching and learning. As the world is confronted with major ecological crises leading to or amplifying major social crises (and vice versa as well) it is about time that the media begin to engage the question of ‘how should education respond?’ ‘what should people be learning and how?’ The article – which you can find HERE: ESDinIntlNYTimes210414 – includes an interview with Alexander Leicht, Head of UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development section a number of other informants from various parts of the world. While there is a growing awareness that there is a need of involving people meaningfully in what seem to be the greatest challenges of our time the article also notes resistance to doing so. In Wyoming, for instance, law-makers blocked the teaching of climate change saying that doing so could hurt the local economy. This painfully makes clear the difficult situation we find ourselves in.

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