February 17th 2020

//February 17th 2020

February 17th 2020

NAEE has written to the Prime Minister to support the case being made by students for changes to school policy and practice.  This begins:

“Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing in support of the letter recently sent to you by Zamzam Ibrahim, President of the NUS and SOS_UK, in which she called for your personal help in ensuring that the education system is a central pillar of your government’s strategy on climate change and the ecological crisis that we face.  … NAEE thinks that it is vital that your government helps change the approach to education so that young people at all stages can, in appropriate ways, learn about the climate emergency and ecological crisis, learn how these are likely to affect their lives, and learn what we in the UK (thinking globally) might do about it.  Doing this will help prepare young people to play their part in facing up to and helping to deal with what is the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced.  We agree with Zamzam when she says that she cannot see every school and college taking substantive, co-ordinated action on this without the encouragement and support of central government through changes to the curriculum and a revision of the 2002 Education Act.

You can see the whole letter here.   ∫∫∫

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The Guardian has a feature article on the Teach the Future proposals for a parliamentary bill to make a reality of climate change education in English schools.  It has a focus on Joe Brindle from Devizes School who is “scared for the future because of the climate crisis [and] angry about the injustice that is allowing the most vulnerable people in the world to suffer from the actions of the richest and most powerful”.  Brindle says “We feel the education system is wasting our time, because we’re facing the biggest issue of our time, and our education isn’t even touching on it.”

As we have noted here previously, Teach the Future is calling for [i] a government review into how the education system is preparing students for the climate emergency and the ecological crisis; [ii] teacher training to assess a minimum standard of knowledge about climate change and its impact; [iii] a national fund to help young people’s voices be heard; [iv] a youth climate endowment fund to support young people’s projects and ideas; [v] all new state-funded educational buildings to have a zero-carbon footprint from 2022, and [vi] the entire education sector becoming net-zero by 2030. ∫∫∫

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In the same article, the Guardian also reports that Dr d’Reen Struthers, a lecturer at the Institute of Education at University College London, is calling for a more comprehensive, deeper and radical approach, together with new thinking about the ethos in schools. “It means rethinking our content-heavy curriculum of information pupils need to regurgitate, and instead helping them learn how to question the insidious agendas that are all about money being made, which have led to this ecological crisis.”

The article gives the last word to Joe Brindle who, in a comment that will surely resonate widely, says: “We don’t just want future ecologists to understand sustainability.  We want bankers, builders and everyone else to consider it in everything they do.” ∫∫∫

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Changing the narrative about climate change education? is the latest NAEE blog.  It’s by Richard Dawson and Ben Ballin who explore the work they are doing on climate change education within primary schools in the Change the Story project.  This is how the blog begins:

“Over the next three years, a group of six European education organisations will be exploring effective climate change education within upper primary schools as part of a project called Change the Story.  Through the project, learners will explore evidence of how humans have affected the climate, how some people are acting now to address it, and will produce their own stories about how they would like climate change to be tackled from now into the future.  This think piece is to start a conversation and explore what good practice might look like, within and beyond the lifetime of the project.”   ∫∫∫

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It was World Pangolin Day last Saturday February 15th.  WWF says that these scaly anteaters are the most heavily trafficked wild mammals in the world because they are wrongly believed to have medicinal properties by people in China and Vietnam.  Most of the eight pangolin species are endangered or critically endangered, and are threatened by poaching and the trade in their meat and scales.  WWF is lobbying for strong national laws and stronger enforcement to ensure that wildlife crime does not pay.  WWF says use your voice today.   ∫∫∫

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If you are still wondering about the question of glass bottles v. aluminium cans, then Ronald Rovers‘ recent blog might help you.  It begins:

“What is better , a friend active in the beverage world asked, recycling aluminium cans or recycling glass bottles?  Neither, I immediately replied: always reuse, and never use aluminum …”  Read on here where you’ll find useful data and some provocative thoughts.  NB, this is written in the Dutch context.  ∫∫∫

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The BBC is working with Greta Thunberg on a series about climate change.  The BBC says:

“As she travels Greta meets not only leading scientists but political leaders and business heavyweights, exploring the scientific evidence with them and challenging them to change.The films will also charts her own journey into adulthood as she continues to be confronted by the real world consequences of inaction; and will share some of the quiet moments as she writes the impactful speeches that are now broadcast and analysed around the world, as she lives a teenage life like no other.”

Rob Liddell, BBC Studios Executive Producer said:

“Climate change is probably the most important issue of our lives so it feels timely to make an authoritative series that explores the facts and science behind this complex subject. To be able to do this with Greta is an extraordinary privilege, getting an inside view on what it’s like being a global icon and one of the most famous faces on the planet.”

There’s more detail here.   ∫∫∫

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Urban Science is delivering a means to teach pupils how science can develop solutions for sustainable cities, motivating them to view the positive benefits of science to the urban environment.  This involves supporting teachers with exciting and innovative ways to teach science that has real life meaning for their pupils.  Urban Science also meets the needs of pupils to be competitive in a rapidly changing world where scientific understanding is vital.  Three learning modules are freely available addressing climate change, biodiversity and UV light – more coming soon – and are available here.  Any questions please contact Richard Dawson – richard@wild-awake.org .   ∫∫∫

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The latest climate science update from The Economist is here.  It includes a podcast about ‘green’ shipping, and the hunt for all the methane (a potent greenhouse gas) that is leaking into the atmosphere.  ∫∫∫

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The National Biodiversity Network wants to recognise significant achievement and celebrate success in wildlife recording and information sharing.  To do this, the NBN Trust set up a national award scheme, in 2015, in partnership with the Biological Records Centre and the National Forum for Biological Recording.  These awards are made annually to individuals, groups of people or organisations that are making outstanding contributions to wildlife recording and improving our understanding of the natural world.   ∫∫∫

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