Climate change continues to present one of the greatest challenges in human history. But we know that education can help us collectively combat the climate crisis, by empowering and enabling positive change.
Back in 2015 Scotland adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and shortly after we at Keep Scotland Beautiful aligned our work to ensure all activities contributed to the outcomes. Unsurprisingly two of the strongest of the 17 Global Goals that we contribute towards are Global Goal 4 – Quality Education and Global Goal 13 - Climate Action.
We know, having delivered the international Eco-Schools programme in Scotland for almost 30 years, our children, and our educators need access to good quality information and experiences that help them understand what we can all do to combat climate change.
As an environmental charity, we are here to help people, young and older, to understand the challenges our environment faces and to empower them to take positive action.
Education is a key strand of our work, and we were pleased to see in the recently published report from Scotland’s Climate Assembly that a number of the 80 recommendations for action linked to education and life-long learning.
Through our Climate Emergency Training we are working to provide people from across the spectrum of civil society with accurate information to support behaviour change to tackle the climate emergency. We strongly believe it is essential we all know the facts and understand what we can do to support the huge changes needed across society to achieve the ambition of becoming a Net Zero Nation.
In the report members of the Children’s Parliament stated that it was essential that all children and young people have information about the climate emergency in Scotland – and through our Climate Ready Classrooms activity we have already reached thousands of young people and their educators. Another recommendation was that carbon emissions and reduction topics should be embedded in all relevant education programmes. And, once again we are delighted that in response to global calls for a greater focus on climate change we have exciting plans for a focused Climate Action Week this autumn, ahead of COP26 coming to Glasgow, and a new Climate Change topic for participating Eco-Schools.
Climate change and the factors driving it: mass consumption; excessive energy use; and unsustainable transport, have always been a focus of Eco-Schools, but elevating climate change to the fore, will give educators and young people greater support at a time, when action is so desperately needed.
For almost three decades, we have been committed to supporting the environmental education of more than a million young people, empowering them to understand complex global and local environmental issues so they can take appropriate actions.
With COP26 just around the corner our climate change education programmes must now provide a lasting national educational legacy – we need to educate the future so that nature and people can thrive together.
Daniel Barry, Education and Learning Manager, Keep Scotland Beautiful