Pressure mounts on world leaders to take decisive long-term action on climate change

Climate change is back in the headlines — not that it is ever far away. Ahead of a major report by the United Nations’ climate change researchers, the UK government minister Alok Sharma said at the weekend that the world is “dangerously close” to running out of time to stop a climate change catastrophe. Sharma, who is in charge of preparations for COP26, the climate summit of world leaders to be held in Glasgow in November, said that — with floods, fires and heatwaves — the effects of climate change were already clear. Central to Life-Based Learning is the idea that children need to be learning the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will enable future generations to live sustainable lives in harmony with the needs of the planet.

The report, released today, is by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the BBC, it is the most up-to-date assessment of how global heating will change the world in the coming decades. It will increase pressure on world leaders to agree decisive action at the COP26 summit; media organisations have immediately picked up on the phrase ‘code red for humanity‘.

Key points made in the IPCC report include:

  • Global surface temperature was 1.09C higher in the decade between 2011 and 2020 than between 1850 and 1900
  • The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850
  • The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901–1971
  • Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice
  • It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s

We have highlighted the importance of the forthcoming COP26 summit in a number of blogs in recent months:

In COP26 must take climate change education seriously we highlighted the work of a youth-led campaign called Teach the Future whose call for a greater focus on teaching about the environmental crisis resonates with the aims of LBL. In a nod to the language of Ofsted their website says:

Current climate education is inadequate. Students aren’t being prepared to face the effects of climate change, or taught to understand the solutions.

from the Teach the Future website

In Using COP26 to press the environmental reset button we called for curriculum change:

A truly imaginative approach to COP26 will put education at the heart of its legacy planning, looking again at what we are teaching our children so that environmental education isn’t just another box-ticking bolt-on, achieved via a few science lessons and an awareness-raising day once or twice a year, but an integral part of the curriculum.

from our blog Using COP26 to press the environmental reset button

The official COP26 website includes an area called Get Involved, which encourages individuals, schools, communities and others to learn more about and engage with issues relating to climate change. Although the education ideas and resources are targeted at schools, many of them are equally relevant to or adaptable for home-schooling as well. For example, National Grid is running a Voices for a Green Future competition, asking young people aged 7–15 to “share their hopes and ambitions for a greener, more sustainable future” via a 200-word submission. Four winners will be invited to turn their submissions into short speeches that they will be filmed delivering and that will be shown at the COP summit.

Image at the head of this article by LucyKaef from Pixabay.

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