Change is the result of all true learning
Education is ultimately the key to empowering young people.
Education is not simply about literacy and numeracy, it is more than mindless mumbling of facts or regurgitating rigid definitions. Instead, it is the means by which us as young people can craft stories, blogs and articles about issues that we care about. It is the means by which we can create a stage to amplify our voices and debate, argue and persuade as active citizens. It creates social awareness beyond the bubble of the individual but the wider world, allowing us as young people to see injustice... and act to create change.
This catalytic power of education struck me most recently as I read Mary Robinson’s book “Climate Justice”. The book focuses on many inspirational people, often from remote places such as Kiribati and rural Uganda, who use a deep understanding of and connection with their land, combined with what they have learnt about the climate crisis, to mobilise and create a change in their community. The impact of their actions made me think about the millions of children that, with this same understanding of the impacts of climate change, could carry this momentum forward into the future.
For climate change to be brushed over in our education is a fundamental flaw in our education system and suggests a lack of commitment to future generations - our generation. There cannot be large-scale change in our dependence on fossil fuels nor the creation of a circular economy without adequate changes in the way young people are being educated.
The idea of compulsory climate education and improved ‘climate literacy’ is not a particularly recent ask, in fact the Chapter 36 of the 1992 Earth Summit highlights the need to ‘reorientate the education system towards sustainability. And yet, 28 years later this is still distant for the majority of young people on the planet, with some noticeable exceptions such as Finland.
The need for climate justice has never been more urgent, and yet much of our generation remains dangerously uneducated on the impacts of climate change. It is time to Teach the Future.
Written by Sophie Price, 16-year-old campaigner at Teach the Future.