‘How can we live more sustainably?’ asks Bec Wakefield to her class of 4 to 5 year old from Down Hall Primary in Essex. Bec one of the world’s very first climate change teachers accredited by UN CC:Learn. A few months ago UN CC:Learn initiated a new approach to climate change learning by associating with a UK based company (Harwood Education) with the aim to improve climate change literacy in the classroom by empowering teachers and students to better understand this issue and become part of the solution. EduCCate Global makes UN CC:Learn content more easily available to teachers to promote a revolution in the classroom.
Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UN CC:Learn offers a pack of 5 free e-courses on climate change for teachers seeking to become climate change leaders. By completing five courses, teachers know that they have mastered all there is to know about the basics of climate change and join a growing global community of climate aware professionals. ‘We’ve not done enough yet to reach out the teaching profession’ said Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:learn Secretariat. ‘The classroom is the new frontline in scaling up the response to climate change’.
The EduCCate Global project works locally and builds by engaging teachers first. Local politicians and decision makers take notice. Metro Mayor of North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, plans to have a UN CC:Learn accredited climate change teacher in every public primary and secondary school in his region. In an interview with the The Guardian Driscoll said ‘this is our opportunity to be the first region in the world to meet this UN sustainable development goal. It’s also a commitment to give every child a world-class environmental education, and to make such progress so soon is fantastic’.
The project has been progressively expanding and attracting the attention of teachers around the world. In the United Arab Emirates Candice Wright head of humanities at her school and the GEMS Geography Network Leader become the first teacher to be accredited in Dubai. Speaking to Khaleej Time she said ‘the course has enabled me to blend and support the curriculum with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda on sustainable environment and infrastructure’ and ‘educating children on such a crucial environmental issue has become more important these days’.
‘Recycle to save the earth’, ‘take short showers to save water’ and ‘don’t use plastic straws’ were some of the answers to Bec’s question at Down Hall Primary. The discussion sparked interest, but they wanted to know more. To find out more go to educcateglobal.org.
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During the pilot phase, the project targeted 80 climate change teachers in the United Kingdom but today more than 3000 are already accredited. Following the first phase of the project, a dedicated Climate Change Platform has been set. Once concluded, this platform will help teachers to deliver lessons based on the existing school curriculum but including climate change in each lesson. The eduCCate Global project also foresees the participation of students and teachers from higher education both within the United Kingdom and across the world. Every school with an accredited climate change teacher is added to the Interactive World Map of Climate Change Teachers. In addition to that, each accredited teacher is also invited to join the online forum of ‘eduCCateglobal’ wherein members are sharing insights to develop a cutting-edge climate curriculum. To check out the schools already included on the map and for more information, access here.