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Putting climate change at the heart of education: Is England's strategy a placebo for policy?

Putting climate change at the heart of education: Is England's strategy a placebo for policy?

Lynda Dunlop,Elizabeth A. C. Rushton

June 14, 2022

In this paper we present an analysis of the sustainability and climate change strategy for education and children's services systems in England, produced by the Department for Education. Using critical discourse analysis, we juxtapose qualitative data collected from >200 youth teachers and teacher educators in the context of co-creating a manifesto for education and environmental sustainability. Through analysis of these two datasets, we evaluate the government's proposals for climate education and sustainability. We find that the strategy foregrounds economic concerns, with educational priorities driven by the ‘net zero’ policy agenda, and an over-reliance on increased science-focused knowledge and skills. The strategy suggests an absence of governmental responsibility and attention to the political dimensions of climate change. This is in contrast to stakeholder perspectives which see economic priorities as part of the problem and call for pro-environmental action at all levels, including from policymakers. The strategy has a depoliticising effect as it introduces additional demands for teachers and schools without the associated enabling policy environment. We argue that the strategy runs the risk of becoming a placebo for policy, with the appearance of ‘doing something’ whilst failing to address the fundamental policy problem.

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Climate Justice and Ableism

Climate Justice and Ableism

Izzy King

May 29, 2022

Our society is ableist. Disabled people have always known this. In order to have a just transition as we move to a sustainable world, we must listen to disabled people to build systems that include and value them at every level, creating a society that's better for disabled people and the environment.

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The 2022 India heatwave – And why we shouldn’t westernise the climate crisis

The 2022 India heatwave – And why we shouldn’t westernise the climate crisis

Kira Khangura

May 22, 2022

The extreme heatwave in India and Pakistan is causing widespread damage across the sub-continent, from severe cases of heatstroke to soaring food prices. Here are the details of what's going on, and why events like this cannot be ignored.

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Fast Fashion and the Climate Crisis

Fast Fashion and the Climate Crisis

Evie Rouxel and Natasha Pavey

May 19, 2022

What is Fast Fashion?Fast fashion is a way to describe the business model that mass produces lots of clothes quickly, cheaply and poorly, leading to them having shorter lifespans. It's why there are always different clothes when you go into shops like Primark and H&M.‍How does it impact the Climate?Fashion on its own is one of the largest polluters, producing 10% of global greenhouse gases, which is more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. Due to how fast trends move global apparel consumption has risen to approx 62 million tons a year, and this leads to even more pollution due to the rate and amount produced.‍

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Theatre and the Climate Crisis

Theatre and the Climate Crisis

Natasha Pavey

May 15, 2022

Can creativity solve a crisis? Is theatre an untapped tool with the power to educate and mobilise the masses? Can we use the arts to create positive change in the face of the sixth biggest mass extinction? I believe so. The arts are a form of communication that can break down big conversations and equally provide a place to escape and an outlet for grief and anxiety surrounding climate catastrophe. 

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Why We Need a System Change

Why We Need a System Change

Izzy King

May 8, 2022

We know that for modern society to become truly sustainable, some big shifts need to happen. Let's take a look at some of the systems and mindsets that may change in the near future.

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We were 'Highly Commended' in the 2022 Your UK Parliament Awards!

We were 'Highly Commended' in the 2022 Your UK Parliament Awards!

Natasha Pavey

May 5, 2022

The Your UK Parliament Awards celebrates people across the UK who have taken action on the issues they care about by engaging with the UK Parliament. With nearly 288 nominations, Teach the Future was recognised as ‘highly commended’ in the ‘Digital Campaigner of the Year Category.’ Digital Campaign or Campaigner of the Year celebrates the work of an individual or organisation that has made an impact and created change by campaigning online, using social media and other digital tools. Although we did not win, it feels amazing to be recognised for all our online campaign work.

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Don't Forget to Vote on May 5th!

Don't Forget to Vote on May 5th!

Natasha Pavey

May 1, 2022

18 or over? Don’t forget to vote in the 2022 May local elections this Thursday (May 5th)!!

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How To Teach The Future

How To Teach The Future

Multiple Authors

May 1, 2022

“Without climate education, I don’t see the value in going to school at all,” says Eleanor Andrade May, a quantitative social science student at the University of Sheffield (p 4). This is a disconcerting statement. When students are unable to see the connection between their studies and their future, it suggests a deep flaw in our education system. Fundamentally, we are failing our young people. But young people are taking action. Eleanor is part of Teach the Future, a youth-led campaign that aims to repurpose the UK’s entire education system around the climate emergency, and this action makes for a very positive statement. Teach the Future’s vision is for broad climate education in the UK. Futurum’s vision is to help students connect the subjects they are learning in school to real-world research projects, all of which aim to solve pressing societal needs. Where there is vision, there is action, and this is how to teach the future.

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How can Schools be more Environmentally Friendly?

How can Schools be more Environmentally Friendly?

Alex Wellington

April 28, 2022

Schools, like everyone else, play an important key role against combating the climate change crisis. With more and more children having climate anxiety, we should be encouraging our schools to start making a difference today. Here are some simple, small and effective changes your school can make to become more environmentally friendly.