Updated: Aug 16
Environmental and social justice are inextricably linked; it is as simple and complex as that.
Therefore, it only follows suit that at school we should learn about these complex issues such as the climate emergency and systemic racism, in a way that mirrors the very nature of these problems - an interdisciplinary way.
It is so important for people to be able to view problems from multiple perspectives to understand the complete picture of these issues. Blurring the boundaries of academic fields such as sociology, history, engineering, and economics allows for maximised innovation. When facing transversal questions and multifaceted problems, to rely solely on the narrow expertise in certain ‘relevant’ fields cannot truly harness the full creativity of our solutions.
In the case of the climate crisis, it is seeing the issue through a broader lens. Including human sciences which often get left in the shadow when addressing more ‘scientific issues’ will allow us to collaborate more effectively. Through this the environment and economics will not be seen as two sides, diametrically opposed but will instead allow students to understand how the health of both systems can be preserved through a circular economy. This synthesis of ideas fosters skills of critical thinking and analysis that cannot simply be taught.
To me the most beautiful part of learning and looking at the world is seeing these interactions and connections (a little deep, sorry). Despite our species best attempt to categorise, label and neatly box up concepts, it is the sprawling web of messiness of the world that perhaps should be embraced. Looking at science alone some of the most interesting areas of research at present fuse multiple disciplines such as quantum biology.
As highlighted by the asks of Teach the Future - integrating the principles of sustainability and climate justice into the whole curriculum (from primary to tertiary education) allows students to explore a complex issue drawing upon a melting pot of perspectives and ideas rather than limiting students to the tunnel hole vision of GCSE science.