smallIn 2016, Norway’s Parliament decided to revise all subject curricula and this was enacted in 2018.  This involved Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary Education (both general and vocational strands).  One aim was to reduce the content of the curricula, to better allow for pupils’ in-depth learning and understanding.  Existing subjects are kept, but the content will be changed.

Priority is given to three interdisciplinary [transversal] themes: democracy and citizenship, sustainable development, and public health and wellbeing. These themes are to be reflected in all subjects where applicable. Critical thinking and reflection will also be emphasised, and practical and aesthetic subjects will be given more weight.  On the face of it, this resembles the English national curriculum themes in the 1990s.

.

In a recent TES, Kate Parker wrote about a Green School New Zealand – a new school (opening next year) which promises to place environmental sustainability at the heart of its curriculum.  The building itself will be made out of sustainable, local materials: the school’s driveway will be made out of concrete from highways that’s already been shredded, and the food the children eat will be grown on top of the school’s car park.   There will be “traditional subjects” but lessons about the environment – and how to preserve it – will be dominant. Interwoven within this will be an emphasis on traditional and indigenous cultures. Children will be taught, for example, how the Māori people have respect for the land.

.

The National Biodiversity Network recognises significant achievement and celebrate success in wildlife recording and information sharing through a national award scheme 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.

If you, or your organisation, know of any individuals or any groups of people that have made an outstanding contribution, make sure you nominate them.   Nominations close on August 11th and the nomination forms are available here.

There are five categories of awards:

  • wildlife recording – terrestrial (open to individuals 21 years +)
  • wildlife recording – marine (open to individuals 21 years +)
  • Group Award (no age restrictions)
  • Young Person’s Award (open to individuals aged 11-20)
  • Newcomer Award (open to individuals 21 years +)

Here is information on all the 2018 winners.

.

National Geographic has a 6 minute video on the background to our use of plastic – Plastics 101.   Parkesine, celluloid and Bakelite – the first three kinds of plastics ever discovered – reshaped the world for the better, says Marco Magrini in Geographic, but their modern descendants are clogging it for the worse.  Read more here.

.

The NUS is running webinars about its new charity SOS-UK which is being launched in the Autumn.  If you haven’t been able to dial in to these, a recording of one session is available here.

.

FEN is holding a competition for primary and secondary schools.  Just submit a photo showing what gardening means to your school and be in with a chance of winning gardening vouchers.  Closing date is July 17th.

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Teaching Trees programme has launched a free, six-week programme, the Junior Forester award aimed at schools, schools, home educators and out of school groups.  You can always follow the latest Forest Education News (FEN) here.

.

A citizen’s assembly to discuss how the UK should end carbon emissions will take place this autumn.  This was one of three demands made by Extinction Rebellion, but the group has criticised the initiative as it wants decisions to be binding, not advisory.

.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder CO, the area of Greenland’s ice sheet that is melting this year is (at 712,000 square km) unusually high. The result is a release of 3 billion tonnes of water a day.  It’s estimated that if this trend continues, and the year turns out to be as bad as 2012, the sea level will rise another millimetre.  There are 3 causes: [i] a change in the North Atlantic Oscillation is encouraging melting, [ii] the jet stream has been weakened by climate change allowing warm air over Greenland, and [iii] greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to long-term changes.

.

As part of the United NationsGoal of the Month series, Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General of UN Environment Programme, gave an exclusive interview on SDG 12. Addressing key topics such as air pollution, plastic waste and zero-budget natural farming, Mr Tripathi offered insights into the the benefits of the Clean Seas and Beat Plastic Pollution campaigns and how zero-budget natural farming can help shift the agricultural industry towards more ecologically sensitive practices.

.

Population Matters and its supporters attended a mass lobby for climate and the environment in London recently, highlighting the urgent need for smaller families.  Around 12,000 people gathered around Parliament yesterday to lobby their MPs to take urgent action on climate change and biodiversity decline. Organised by The Climate Coalition, of which Population Matters is a member, The Time is Now mass lobby brought together people of all ages from across the UK.

.

Waterways in Our Communities is the theme for the 2019 World Rivers Day on September 22.