Following our meeting with John Swinney, Teach The Future Scotland sent a document to him highlighting how a lack of climate education will violate young people's human rights including but not exclusive to their education, and the necessity for sustainable education. It is incredibly important to highlight these rights as it illustrates the extreme impact the climate crisis will have and our right to learn about how these impacts will affect us.
The document illustrated how the rights to education, food, shelter, safety and security are violated by the climate crisis and a lack of climate education. We deserve to learn about the climate crisis and to be prepared for the future, as our generation will face some of the most extreme changes . Additionally, young people’s right to education is impacted by the changing circumstances forcing them to work to support their families especially in rural areas therefore sacrificing their education. Their right to education is also violated by the need to migrate to livable conditions due to the increasing climate crisis.
The right to shelter as secured under the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the UN Convention of the Right of the Child will also be affected by the climate emergency as homes are being destroyed by natural disasters and flooding, causing mass migration. Those forced to leave their homes are often forced to live in poor conditions. Young people have the right to be taught about housing and disaster protection/prevention to decrease the number of children having to migrate due to climate and the impact this has on their education.
The right to food will be hindered internationally as a consequence of global warming, as poorer yields will force heightened prices, therefore increasing inequality and food insecurity in both countries where food is already scarce, and here in the UK. We deserve to learn about how a changing climate will affect access to sustenance, how food production affects climate, and in turn what will have to change to live in a sustainable society. Moreover, for students wanting to pursue a career in farming, agriculture and other jobs in this sector have the right to know how the climate crisis will affect their prospects of employment.
Lastly, the right to safety and security will be violated by the climate crisis and the lack of education. In areas most threatened by the climate crisis, the right to safety is highly affected with climate refugees potentially being subjected to hazardous conditions including flash flooding, natural disasters, famine and droughts. All of these endanger human life and prevent young people from attending school. These impacts have already been seen in Scotland, and with the prevalence of these issues rising, student’s fear and feelings of a lack of security will increase if they remain uninformed. Everyone deserves to be taught about how the climate crisis will risk our safety, and how we can reduce that threat.
This is only a fraction of the violations of human rights the climate crisis will cause and how these are linked to sustainable education. Education on the climate crisis and the injustices it fuels is vital to finding solutions and reducing the infringements on international law. We hope that John Swinney can see just how critical it is to educate students on the climate emergency and ecological crisis, in order to prepare our students to produce effective solutions to mitigate climate change.