The 24th January is the International Day of Education. The International Day of Education, or simply “Education Day”, is an important day in the annual calendar and celebrates the “role of education for peace and development”. This year, Education Day is focussing on the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. It’s inspired by UNESCO’s recent “Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education” report. The report highlights the importance of “an urgent rebalancing of our relationships” with each other, nature and technology. With this and CHEC’s successful history in education in mind, we wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate the International Day of Education by focussing on the role of climate education in 2022 and beyond.
Education in 2022 and the State of the World
In 2022, the world is in a very precarious position. Global issues such as inequality, poverty, mental health and hunger are ongoing. More modern issues such as mass misinformation also continue to disrupt and confuse populations. Great steps are being taken to address these areas however, they are not easily solved. What’s more, they all disrupt and hinder education. Basic needs need to be met for individuals to attend classes, be healthy enough to learn and to feel comfortable enough to take part.
These issues have all been further negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which continues to rage on through new variants. And this doesn’t take into account the impact on education the coronavirus pandemic has had itself. At one stage, over 185 million students could not access school due to closures related to pandemic restrictions. It’s also estimated that in total 1.6 billion learners have been impacted globally. This is a huge amount that will impact nations, economies, livelihoods and individuals’ and community wellbeing for years to come.
However, there is one more thing that is impacting the state of the world as we know it today…The climate crisis.
Like the pandemic, the climate crisis will increase the negative impacts on existing global issues. This includes education. Therefore, while it’s important that 2022 sees a focus on recovering global education systems, it’s imperative that a large part of this focuses on climate education.
The Need for Climate Education
At no other point in human history have we been more aware of the issues facing planet Earth. Global temperatures are shifting. Storms are getting stronger. The ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. Forest fires are rampaging. Extreme weather events are more extreme and are becoming more common. Ultimately, we’re at a crossroads and it’s not clear which direction we’ll take moving forward.
The atmosphere is changing 10 times faster than ever before and the Earth is hotter than any time since the last Ice Age, yet inaction reigns. Despite the impacts felt by those tackling the direct impacts of the climate crisis world leaders, governments, corporations and many individuals aren’t doing enough. The climate crisis is not an issue of the future. It’s an issue today. Global unified mobilisation that champions mitigation, adaptation and resilience can see us move in the right direction but these changes need to happen now.
Therefore, it’s clear that there is a great need for global education. Furthermore, it highlights that there is an even greater global need for climate education.
The Role of Climate Education
Climate education has a huge role to play in global education systems. It must form part of the global educational recovery from the impacts of Covid-19. Also, it must champion inclusivity, equality and diversity. Without such fundamental values, we will not beat climate change.
The role of climate education is vast. Where misinformation and conspiracy theories have set us back, climate education can lead the way in tackling the climate crisis.
We will also need further advancements in technology, science, meteorology, human ecology, and many other fields if we are to combat it. Climate education makes this possible.
This is why the UN has stated that the role of climate education is fundamental. It can help empower people through the knowledge, skill, values and attitudes it shares as avenues for agents of change.
The Youth Are Already Leading the Way
Younger generations around the world have already grasped the urgency needed to respond to the climate crisis. Their future’s are at risk and climate change threatens this further. We owe it to them, ourselves and future generations to do something now.
Amazing youth movement groups are consistently standing up to governments and corporations to demand change at the highest levels. While Greta Thunberg is now rightly a household name, youth from around the world have already set a great example of positive change. They’ve shown what’s possible. Now is the time that this knowledge is spread far and wide.
Everyone can benefit from climate education. The youth are already leading the way and it’s time more people listened.
Support Climate Education by Celebrating the International Day of Education
The world is at a crossroads. As we recover globally from the coronavirus pandemic there is an opportunity to shape the future. What this future looks like is down to us. What decisions we make today will impact our lives tomorrow.
Climate education is key to this future. It needs to be supported across all areas, including:
- The economical.
- The political
- The cultural.
The International Day of Education, while highlighting the importance of education for all, also recognises the importance of climate education as we move further into a world ravaged by climate change. By supporting the International Day of Education you are also championing climate education for all.
The best way to support climate education through the celebration of the International Day of Education is to share information about it. There are many ways to support the role of climate education in the International Day of Education such as:
- Share this article on social media and with your friends and family.
- Take part in the discussion on social media on the 24th January 2022 using the #EducationDay hashtag.
- Register and join the International Day of Education event in New York and via Zoom or watch it live on UN Web TV.