Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Italy Becomes First Country to Add Climate Crisis to Its Core School Curriculum

Climate
"Fridays For Future" climate activists in Rome, Italy in front of the Pantheon on Sept. 6. Matteo Nardone / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

Italy has stepped into the forefront of environmental education by adding the climate crisis and sustainable development as a mandatory part of the curriculum, the country's education minister announced Tuesday, as The New York Times reported.


Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti is the government's most vociferous advocate for green policies and encouraged students to skip school in September to participate in the global climate strike, according to Reuters.

His new initiative means all state-run schools will tie-in the UN's 2030 agenda for sustainable development into as many subjects as possible, with one hour each week dedicated to how humans have altered the planet and the causes and effects of global warming. Sustainability will also be incorporated in geography, mathematics and physics, Fioramonti announced, as The Guardian reported.

"The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model," said Fioramonti, to Reuters. "I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school."

The changes will go into effect at the beginning of the next school year, which will start in September 2020. A panel of experts will act as "peer reviewers" as ministry staff prepares the curriculum, which will be ready by January to train teachers, according to Fioramonti. The expert panel will include Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development, and Kate Raworth of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, according to The New York Times.

Fioramonti foresees teaching primary school students, aged 6-11, about the environment through stories and fairy tales from various cultures around the world that recognize a connection with the natural world. Middle schoolers will start to learn more technical details, while high school students will learn about the UN's 2030 agenda for sustainable development, according to The New York Times.

While environmental advocates praised the initiative, it also drew some caveats, especially about passing the burden of the climate crisis to the next generation.

"Science tells us the next 10 years are crucial," said Edoardo Zanchini, vice president of Legambiente, Italy's leading environmental group to The New York Times. "We cannot wait for the next generation."

Fioramonti has made the climate crisis a top priority since entering the government. He has argued in books that gross domestic product is the wrong measure of a country's economic health. He proposed new taxes on items with large carbon footprints such as airline tickets, plastics and sugary foods. While he aimed to raise money for education, he faced a backlash since many Italians believe they are already overtaxed, as Reuters reported.

However, the plastic tax and a tax on sugary drinks were both included in the 2020 budget that the government presented to parliament this week.

"I was ridiculed by everyone and treated like a village idiot, and now a few months later the government is using two of those proposals and it seems to me more and more people are convinced it is the way to go," Fioramonti said to Reuters.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less