Thursday November 5th is Outdoor Classroom Day. This is a global movement to make time outdoors part of every child’s day. On two days of action each year, teachers take children outdoors to play and learn. The Wildlife Trusts quote Primary School Teacher, Sarah Doxford, saying:
“Outdoor learning is essential as it gives children first hand experience of the world; a chance to become immersed in their environment. That is an opportunity you cannot replicate in the classroom.”
We agree. §§§§
Following a meeting with Scottish Education minister John Swinney,Teach the Future has sent him 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. They stressed how important it was 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.
You can read it in full here. §§§§
Universities and other higher education institutions have a critical role in helping society achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their research, learning and teaching, campus operations and leadership. So argues a new guide from the UN that focuses on one of the most important ways they can contribute, which is to harness their learning and teaching functions to provide “Education for the SDGs (ESDGs)”, that will, they say, help learners develop the necessary knowledge, skills and mindsets. The aim of the guide is to help accelerate the process of mainstreaming ESDGs in universities, by helping stakeholders within and outside universities understand why universities should engage with ESDGs, what ESDGs looks like from an institutional perspective, and what steps they can take towards implementation. It also provides resources, tools and case studies to inspire and support further action.
The guide is here. §§§§
The Economist has a feature on forced and child labour in today’s cotton industry, contextualising it in cotton’s role in the slave trade. The article concludes that ensuring that cotton clothing comes from ethical producers is more difficult than it seems because of cotton’s convoluted journey from farm to shop. Mark Sumner of the University of Leeds says that even a “simple” supply chain looks something like this:
A farmer and his small-holder neighbours sell raw cotton to a ginner (who separates the fibres from the seeds), often through an agent. The ginner then supplies huge global traders, which amalgamate cotton from around the world, sorted by quality. They in turn sell to yarn producers. Next come the textile manufacturers which knit or weave the fabric and sell to dyers and finishers. Finally the cloth is ready to be sold to a garment manufacturer which produces the finished item. These tend to be the only firms in the supply chain with which the brands have a contract.
This is an issue that potentially affects us all in what is a $41bn industry, and the issues raised in this story would be useful in a global learning context. §§§§
Do you know of schools in the process of becoming net carbon neutral? If so, then Dominic Lavelle < firstname.lastname@example.org > of Green Experts would like to hear from you. Given the purpose of schools it could be that what young people learn through the carbon-reduction process is much more important than the actual reduction itself. §§§§
Rewilding Britain says that climate zones are moving northwards by up to five kilometres a year due to climate heating, and that this shift ”hundreds of times faster than the natural climate warming at the end of the last ice age” is set to outpace many species’ ability to adapt and adjust their ranges. Their new report outlines how rewilding, by supporting the dynamic movement and re-establishment of ecological communities, “can play a major role in climate adaptation“. The report proposes that, by restoring and connecting species-rich habitats across at least 30% of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, we can help save a fifth of species from climate-driven habitat loss, decline or extinction. And by doing so we can ensure that Britain is once again teeming with wildlife.
The report is here. §§§§
UNESCO is drafting a global report on Education and the Environment that will examine to what extent environmental education, including climate change and biodiversity, is covered in education systems around the world. Consultants have already analyzed national curriculum frameworks and education sector plans for some 50 countries worldwide and have conducted an extensive literature review. The next stage of the research is a survey of teachers, educators and education leaders about environmental education and education for sustainable development.
The survey is available here. It might take you 30 minutes to complete. §§§§
Bridge 47 has a new short awareness-raising video about Agenda 2030 about the SDGs. It argues SDG Target 4.7 is key to achieving all the goals: “The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call to action for us all. To achieve the transformative vision of Agenda 2030, we need to change the way we think and act. This change requires transformative learning”. §§§§
UNESCO is also running an online workshop on November 12th (starting 1400 GMT) on Youth, Education for Sustainable Development and resilience: empowered young people mobilising beyond the crisis. This workshop will explore what would help young people to feel better prepared for the current and future uncertain situations. For example:
– How do young people view the current crisis?
– What are the enabling conditions for young people to become active change agents for sustainability?
– How can ESD equip young people with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient under challenging situations?
The session is being organised by and for young people who are aware of the global sustainability challenges and are interested in actively preparing for a better future. Click here to register. §§§§.
There’s food for thought (and student investigation) in the article on Diet, Climate, and the Steady State Economy by Haley Demircan on the CASSE website. It begins:
“The saying “you are what you eat” is clearly true to a great extent, but there’s more to the story. The food we consume not only affects our being directly, but also the environment and the economy—and therefore us indirectly as well. Eating more vegetables and less meat and dairy is better for the health of most individuals here and now, and certainly for the health of the planet, now and for the long run. Without a healthy planet, there’s no healthy economy. …” §§§§
On the day Sir David Attenborough released his Netflix documentary, A life on our planet, described as “terrifying” and “a short, sharp, shocking lesson ” by The Guardian, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation published its latest (brief) plastics video, which Dame Ellen and Sir David narrated.
You can view it here. It begins: “By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans.” §§§§
Was the BBC story that there are more tigers in captivity in the USA than there are in the wild really true? Well, the BBC actually said “may be more” and those sort of statements are hard to pin down. The story goes on: “[there are] as many as 7,000 tigers living in the US either in zoos or privately owned, according to some estimates. That’s nearly double the estimated 3,890 tigers still prowling in the wild around the world”. A lot of these animals, as the story points out, are US-bred by businesses that supply exotic pets.
Here’s a National Geographic feature that has more detail on this practice. §§§§