In 2019, Italy became the first country to require climate change lessons to be taught in public schools. Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti expressed his goals of making the Italian school system put “the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school”. Since September 2020, climate science has reportedly become integrated into diverse areas of the curriculum such as geography, physics, and mathematics.
It may be a wise choice for other countries to follow Italy’s example. In the United States, for instance, over 80% of parents and 86% of teachers are in favor of lessons focused on climate change.
Climate change is a serious issue that affects the entire world, with damaging effects such as loss of ice, sinking coastlines, and rising temperatures. There are two main reasons that teaching climate change would be beneficial: to help people understand the severity of the problem, and to equip them to make a positive impact.
Currently, not everybody appreciates the threat of climate change. A recent global attitudes survey shows inconsistencies between countries: for example, 90% of people in Greece believe that this is a major threat to their country, while only 41% of Nigerian people would say the same.
Approximately 13% of people within the U.S. believe that humans are not responsible for climate change; 5% deny this issue whatsoever. However, climate change is not something up for debate— it is brutally real. Presenting the facts in an objective, unbiased manner (such as a science lesson) would help reduce confusion and improve understanding.
As students dive deep into climate science, the classroom is a great place to equip them to get involved in conservation efforts. Younger children can develop eco-conscious habits such as recycling, reducing plastic use, helping pick up litter, and appreciating the outdoors. Teenagers may participate in meaningful programs related to advocacy, restoration, and wildlife, among others.
This critical education and hands-on experience would prepare students for an eco-conscious lifestyle and possibly a successful career in conservation. Raising a generation with a strong sense of awareness and responsibility will hopefully shift global perspectives towards a more sustainable outlook.