In the decades since the launch of the global environmental movement after the first Earth Day, more than 3 billion young people have graduated from high school having learned little or nothing about one of the greatest issues that will shape their lives and their livelihoods for decades to come – climate change. Given both the sharply rising risks and enormous opportunities to forge a different and prosperous future, building a climate-literate population is one of the biggest missed opportunities in the climate restoration game plan.

It is not as if world leaders have failed to recognize the pivotal role that environmental education could have played for the past 30 years. The countries that forged the original UN climate change treaty in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit enshrined climate education as an essential part of a national response to a global emergency. But not much has happened and most countries, international institutions and environmental organizations have eschewed the critical role that climate education plays in solving climate change and in creating jobs.

But finally, things are changing. In a recent paper in the PNAS, scientists picked climate education as one of half a dozen societal transformations needed to stabilize the earth’s atmosphere by 2050 in line with the aims of the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015. In September of 2020, the United Kingdom’s citizens’ climate assembly proposed many important specific measures to deal with global warming but their number one overarching policy was a call for education and information for all on climate change.

Seventy-seven percent of 10,000 people polled in rich and poor countries put education as the number one action needed to tackle climate change. So, there is a consensus building.

The upcoming United Nations climate conference, co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Italy in Glasgow in November 2021, is the next big chance to turn the page and repair a near 30-year broken promise to our youth and our economies. It is time that governments recognize their failures and support quality, compulsory climate education as a core, integrated subject in school curricula worldwide allied to teaching civic engagement skills. If this generation of leaders can finally make it a reality, the ripple effect could be profound. Climate education and literacy will unlock efforts towards sustainable consumerism and the creation of environmentally friendly goods and services while providing a building block towards supporting entrepreneurship and ensuring purposeful employment opportunities.

We believe that the Italian government’s groundbreaking decision to provide compulsory climate education coupled with civic education in its schools, and a growing number of governments which have joined them, provides a fresh vision others should urgently adopt. The UN climate conference in Glasgow must also agree on the specific pathways and means to assist poorer nations to join in this vital, ambitious, initiative.

This vision is increasingly shared by a growing global alliance of over 350 trades unions, teachers’ associations, environmental and youth groups, representing over 400 million people, under a new campaign coordinated by EARTHDAY.ORG and other leading institutions. It calls for governments to not only put compulsory climate education in their national Paris Agreement climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, but to also assess their implementation and link what is learned in school with real-life civic engagement skill-building. It should be given the same importance as any core subject like mathematics, science, history, or a language. Given what we know about planet’s health, climate education is now imperative. Without it, no country can play a role in the growing global green economy.

The cornerstone and key indicator of progress for every country on earth is education, and progress – which also includes economic independence and prosperity – must now be measured in the ability to tackle the existential threat of climate change while creating a green-jobs-ready workforce, a green consumer movement, and an active and engaged citizenry. Yes, nations everywhere need to dramatically step up across all areas of the Paris Agreement, from renewable energy and restoring forests to greener cities, financial flows into climate-friendly projects and a just transition for workers. But just as vitally, we need to equip future generations with the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to survive and indeed thrive in the decades to come. And that begins in school.

Sharan Burrow is general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has 300 million members. Kathleen Rogers is president of EARTHDAY.ORG, which engages around 1 billion people annually.

(41) comments

mpjeep

Rahm Emanuel said that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. I say It’s an even worse thing to manufacture.

In announcing his climate and energy team the other day, Biden declared climate change a crisis requiring a “unified national response.” Going even further, he called it “an existential threat of our time,” a frankly preposterous claim if taken literally, or even seriously.

The globe has been getting warmer for decades now, with no adverse effects on the population. Heck, even polar bears aren’t being driven to extinction.

In a climate speech during the campaign a few months ago, Biden relied on the tried-and-true alarmist tack of attributing every adverse weather event to global warming.

Biden blames flooding in the Midwest on climate change with no proof at all. And then he blamed droughts in the midwest on climate change. Of course, Biden maintained that California wildfires have been caused by the upward trend in the global temperature. Again, no proof. Finally, Biden cited Hurricane Laura, in Louisiana, as yet more climate-driven extreme weather.

There is no doubt that some human activity contributes to climate change. It is a long-term challenge that we should seek to understand better.

In short, Biden needs a crisis, facts and science be darn.

David Collins

Absolutely , just not quite as fast as promoted . The climate has always changed over the history of our planet . Just not over hundreds of years or even thousands . Millions of years is about right . Way back then , scientists claim , the world was a different place . Mostly tepid and flat with a volcano or two venting . The continent’s were not recognizable by today’s standards and no mountain ranges existed like today’s . Over millions of years , plate tectonics took over , ocean currents changed , mountains were created by colliding plates which affected the flow of the winds . Just like today . This process is never ending and unstoppable, no matter how much money you throw at it . Do not take my word on all this over simplification . Hopefully the public library has not thrown away all of the publications on this matter .

With that in mind , we are absolutely horrible stewards of our environment . You poop in your nest long enough and it becomes quite uninhabitable . That is where the concentration of efforts should lie . Clean up your nest and let evolution take care of itself . There are always those that revel in quixotic tasks and will always be . There are also those that sense profits to be made from those ignorant of the history of our planet or just plain gullible . Use that thing that sits between your shoulders for it’s intended purpose , not a hat rack .

By the way , back in the 60s it was global cooling and the impending return of the ice age . Mammoths trudging down Wall Street and all that . Was going to happen because learnedly science types said so . Still awaiting the mammoths in 2020 / 21 .

drewski

And yet in the 70's ozone destroying chemicals were reduced to great effect. I fail to grasp how some folks don't see a connection between taking hydrocarbons that took eons to accumulate, and pumping them back into atmosphere as a gas at 20x their liquid volume in a couple centuries is not going to make major changes in the atmosphere and climate.

Seems like the mammoths are here and in denial?

noitall

Denial of what? Climate is a dynamic system and always changes - it is in motion. Mother Nature will take care of things - always has. Our society is not capable of controlling anything let alone climate.

mpjeep

Liberal politicians, Al Gore’s university researchers and the media, all who are climate alarmists, are now calling Climate Change, Global Warming as a scheme to better promote their own views with people who have little knowledge of science.

It’s basically all about money, power and control. Grant money for research and when science becomes political it is no longer science, it’s corruption.

The average air temperature in the last 30 years has increased .15C and sea level has increased 1mm or basically stable the last 100 years. If we can believe the science, then no big changes and to tell you the truth, scientists can’t even tell you with much more than a 50/50 guess, if it’s going to rain tomorrow.

And if all the warming is true, we have many years for Biden to develop cheap, clean energy sources not dependent on fossil fuels.

Sure there’s some climate change, as there always has been, but for the big picture -- Global Warming, for the most part, is a Hoax.

drewski

From NASA.gov:

Over the past 100 years, global temperatures have risen about 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F), with sea level response to that warming totaling about 160 to 210 mm (with about half of that amount occurring since 1993), or about 6 to 8 inches.

NOAA.gov says the same thing.

You all must forgive me since after some research i am inclined to believe govt scientific agencies, over an opinion that says 1mm in last 100 years and its a power grab conspiracy, with no citations as to the source of this revelation. I am funny like that.

mpjeep

Science has its place, but science does change over time and it's almost impossible to get scientist to agree collectively.

mpjeep

William Happer a Professor of Physics at Princeton University and a long-time member of a group of scientists which provides independent advice to the U.S. government on matters relating to science, technology, and national security, Happer served as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science from 1991–1993.

Best known as a vocal critic on global warming, he has been called frequently to give expert testimony before various U.S. congressional committees on the subject of global warming/ climate change.

Dr. Happer: There is no scientific basis for the claim that increases of atmospheric CO2 due to burning of fossil fuels will cause climate change that will have substantial adverse impacts on humanity and on natural systems. Any resulting climate change will be moderate and there will be benefits to agriculture and other plant life.

mpjeep

Yea, that's what I always do.....trust our government. Good luck with that.

drewski

Well fair enough, ok govt scientists data can not be trusted. Please provide the source for your 1mm over last 100 yrs assertion, and I can compare credibility, resources,history and funding sources. Then I can make an informed decision.

Thanks!

mpjeep

Still looking for my source, ski. I don’t save everything. In the meantime…..To quote President Reagan “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”

drewski

That is a 30 year old opinion From happer, no where can I find him saying 1mm rise over 100 yrs. His idea that plants benefit from co2 is correct, the vast majority of current scientists agree that co2 and methane contribute to global warming, and that humans have been adding those gases at an alarming rate. If you choose to beleive a 30 yr old opinion from 1 guy that's your choice. I am old enough to remember supposed or actual drs. On TV touting lucky strikes.

drewski

To quote Nancy's astrologer " sell weapons to our enemy Iran to fund your illegal war in Central america"

David Collins

The ozone depleting chemicals are part of what I posted about cleaning up your nest . AC refrigerant has been reengineered a few times to do just that . That is a good thing and needs to continue if it makes a difference . Science at work !

NASA is not exactly the end all when it comes to putting out accurate information . Sometimes for National Security purposes and sometimes ....... They were caught a while back fudging the numbers for political reasons to promote a certain narrative . Remember , NASA relies on contractors that rely on government contracts . Come forth with bad news and you might well not be selected on the next go around . The employees also will have particular leanings which they may attempt to favor . They are people , just like us and as we well know everyone shoots straight from the hip . Don’t they ?

drewski

Well nasa or noaa are not perfect, esp recently with pressure from on high to back the withdrawal from Paris agreement.

If you can agree that cfc might destroy the ozone layer and that is good science, is it so far fetched that too much greenhouse gas in atmosphere retains heat that would otherwise escape into space?

mpjeep

This site explores the debate on whether climate change is caused by humans www.climatechange.procon.com

The pro side argues rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases are a direct result of human activities.

The con side argues human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are too small to substantially change the earth’s climate and that the planet is capable of absorbing those increases.

Not being a scientist, it’s hard for me to understand. Both sides “seem” to make good arguments.

I have to believe one position or the other. It’s like when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I went to two urologists. One said removal was the best option and one said radiation was the best option. I had to choose one. I’m not a doctor either.

David Collins

No ! NASA , NOAA and the Paris thing are totally different . Just a money grab with no substance . We are doing pretty good without those leaches .

Greenhouse gasses , how much is too much ? Never get much of an answer . Strange how California has the most stringent rules but the worst air . The worst of a lot of things . Once again , we are doing OK as it is . We already have a non polluting source of energy . Nuclear , so use it . This other stuff is just flash in the pan garbage with a short shelf life .

drewski

You know what does not have a short shelf life, spent fuel rods!

drewski

Strange how California has the most stringent rules but the worst air

Not really all that strange, city of la has the population of 3 or 4 Midwest states, 12 lane highways with gridlock cars spewing poison gases.. that density of population explains both in my mind.

mpjeep

Happer is considered one of the top 15 best scientists in the world.

He was hired by the Clinton administration as their top scientific guru. Gore had him fired because of his opposing views on climate change.

The Trump administration hired him for the same reasons Clinton did, but Trump’s handlers had him fired before the 2020 campaign began, due to the fact that so many folks in the country have been brainwashed about climate change, they thought it would hurt Trump.

While polls of scientists actively working in the field of climate science indicate strong general agreement that Earth is warming and human activity is a significant factor, 31,000 scientists say there is "no convincing evidence" that humans can or will cause "catastrophic" heating of the atmosphere. (OSS Foundation)

Fred Singer, a leading scientific skeptic of anthropocentric global warming is an atmospheric physicist. Singer said the number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily and would guess it is about 40% now and would like to see the public look upon global warming as just another scientific controversy and oppose any public policies until the major issues are settled, such as the cause.

The earth is estimated to be over 4 billion years old and yes has been warming, but not to our detriment. So those that say they live their life based on science and want to spend trillions of research dollars over the next 4 billion years have at it.

And producing electricity by solar panels releases more greenhouse gases than producing electricity by gas or even coal.

drewski

You might want to spend more time on oss web site, after 10 mins skimming it contradicts much of what you said.

David Collins

Let me jump in . Using solar panels is not particularly harmful but does have a negative effect or two . For later .

The mining , acquisition and assembly of solar panels is not a Green endeavor . There Are pollutants released during the process . The part you Never hear about is disposal of worn out and damaged panels . From what I have read , it is a absolute nightmare to safely accomplish this and the day of reckoning on this subject is rapidly approaching . Once they age and become uneconomical is is off to the boneyard . Hopefully not one near you . Oh , in an array , solar array , they all get tossed together . Output must be consistently even or bad things can happen . Sort of like having an almost dead battery in a multi cell flashlight .

drewski

I dont know much about panels longevity or disposal. I do note the is solar going in all around us, must be a 500 acre site between Maysville and Kinston, and another going in north of Hubert. If it was not viable why would such investments exist?

mpjeep

For you climate alarmists out there…...why don’t we include human power along with wind and solar power?

Unlike solar and wind energy, human power is always available and yes it’s a clean energy source.

Human power is an important source of energy in construction, farming, transportation, etc.. human muscle power! And we also used animal power, as well as, windmills and watermills many years ago.

With the advent of cable TV, the Internet, Laptops and cell phones, these days, human power plays almost no role at all. We are an automated society.

Experts say a human can create as much energy as a solar panel on a sunny day. Muscle power that can be converted to mechanical energy or electricity, but also thermal energy, especially during exercise: a human on a stationary bike can generate up to 100 watts per hour and on a hand crank can produce up to 30 watts per hour. We just need to develop a power plant to capture this energy and tap into gyms.

So maybe it’s time we put down our cell phones, get off the couch, and produce some power.

noitall

Eventually we will go with nuclear breeder reactors fueled with EXISTING nuke waste now stored in Georgia - enough for centuries. Smaller reactors assembled off site and moved to final site by rail is looking pretty good, but politically hopeless without some energy crisis to drive the need. Fossil fuel will be here for a very long time. We can't live without it.

noitall

The climate is always in balance. Rainfall on Earth is fairly constant at any given moment Oceans cool and land heats. Latent heat of evaporation is heat absorbed from the ocean to change ocean water to become water vapor. Ocean temp is the ONLY reliable indicator of climate change - and that can be shaky - ocean is big.. NASA is just another government agency. that needs some headlines to get grant money. We surely do not need any more baloney from our mass media and pop culture.

David Collins

Glad you asked , drew .

Government mandates a certain percentage of power generation be allotted to “ Renewable “ sources .

Government provided subsidies to the renewable industries to make this happen .

Let us not get into all the other subsidies government puts forth . I have never thought that was proper with the exception of certain types of research and defense , not so sure about defense as much anymore . In other words this renewable stuff is being jammed down our throats on the backs of the taxpayers .

Other than that , things are just fine .

By the way , may have said this before but I have a niece that lives just outside of Camden Maine . They built an off the grid home with the solar and wood stove technology . Other than frozen water pipes , cold showers and a smoky home they are getting by with no electric bill . Of course the gasoline bill for the generators , yes plural , is rather high . 2 dollar/gallon + is the norm and then having to go outside in the dead of winter is exhilarating . But they have no electric bill .

drewski

Did a lil research subsidies expire in 2021 unless renewed by congress. This yr for new install its a tax credit of 21% of cost.

That leaves roughly 80%.. payoff times for solar are between 8 and 16 years depending on kwh cost and usage.

2 types direct grid tie in and battery storage, the battery system weak point is they are expensive and have a realistic life of about 5 yrs.. now an Edison battery will last forever nickel& iron plates and sodium hydroxide... a topic for another day

noitall

Battery is still the weak link in the system. There was some research on storing the electricity produced as compressed air - don't laugh. Venezuela has more hydro than they can use so they store surplus hydro as smelted aluminum. We need a way to use solar to make something of value - maybe hydrogen.

JusticeForAll

Hopefully, the younger generations will take up this concern because their existence depends on it. They will have to lead the way to ensure we keep this planet sustainable for living organisms. Will we humans destroy the planet? Certainly not. But can we destroy much of the life that exists here? Absolutely. Seems some of our spoiled older generation isn't interested in anything that will thwart their very comfortable lifestyle.

David Collins

Could be that some of the older generation have heard and seen a few “next big things “ during their lives , only to see it fail . Benefits of age , but keep trying . The immediate solution is right in front of your nose . Perhaps you will wake up eventually . Of course no solution is perfect all the time but what is or ever has been ?

JusticeForAll

No, don't think all the older generation stops learning or become resistant to information, Seems some just become cynical. Solutions are plentiful and no they are not perfect, duh. That is what science is all about. Discovering, learning, changing, adapting and repeating until it changes. It flows with the dynamic of past and current knowledge. With new discoveries, some of us keep trying to improve things on this planet and work with nature, not against her.

drewski

I dunno justice, my experience is * most* people become more conserative, less likely to try new things, or seek new information. " this is the way it has always been why change" free spirits such as ourselves may be the exception rather then the rule?

David Collins

We become cynical when beset-upon by the hype merchants of the world professing the next great thing that will surely end our problems and cure our ills . All that and a great big nothing burger is what you end up getting . Here it long enough and you too will grow thick skin .

No , do not stop trying and eventually we will succeed or perish with nothing left but mindless dust and echoes that grow ever fainter . A bit of drama there just for effect . So , Tally ho , go forth and get on with it , for time is fleeting indeed .

drewski

Gee, I was hoping you were going to end with " ask not for whom the bell tolls"

David Collins

Will save that epilogue for next time

David Collins

Woke up early due to the incessant call of Mother Nature that plagues we older folks . On the way to the relief stool a thought was circulating about that thing we refer to as our brain ,

Would it not be quite convenient if we posters had great ability to edit , make changes , to our posted posts . Sort of like some that used mail in ballots were allowed to do during the last election season . How about it Mr / ms editor . Is that function available to us and if so ,how does it work ? Or is it a once you thunk it , posted it and received approval it is yours for the end of time . A true for whom the bell tolls moment indeed , told you I had a spot for the bell . This is also where you reply atta boy David . My bell is not a one trick pony and is libel to show up again here and there , a versital bell it is ,

drewski

Atta boy david

is libel to show up again a Freudian slip on editing comments?

David Collins

Anybody see the report on Bill Gates latest hypocrisy ? Mr Gates , a climate change / global warming / sea level rise activist type with more money than God , is in a bidding war to purchase the largest private jet rental / service company around . Private Jets produce up to 40 times the pollution per passenger mile than commercial types . He always flies private and quite frequently , basically because he can .

drewski

So bill gates should wear sack cloth and ashes, travel by mule to avoid labeling as a hypocrite?

David Collins

That would be a good start drew , bet that mule would come with a jet pack as well .

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