Hiya, my names Molly, I’m a climate activist based in Wales. Heres why I think that schools can be at the heart of tackling the climate crisis.
In UK schools the scientific processes fuelling climate change are referred to in science and geography. However, I think confining the climate emergency to just these two subjects downplays the importance of the climate crisis as a distant scientific process, it fails to show how it transcends into all aspects of our lives. A solution to this is a cross curriculum approach which includes discussions on the climate crisis across subjects. This could range from teaching about social justice and the importance of indigenous knowledges in sociology, to green technologies in DT and ICT.
It doesn’t stop there, the climate crisis needs to be taught out of the classroom too. In canteens a plant-based menu could raise awareness of the damaging effects of meat consumption, not just on the planet but to individual health too. Schools could encourage home growing produce, or even have a school allotment, this could help fight ‘holiday hunger’ while teaching the benefits of local produce.
Incorporating green spaces into school buildings can help connect the school community to nature. In addition to showing students first-hand why nature is so worth protecting, green spaces are proven to have positive mental health impacts, such as reducing stress (I’m sure we can all agree that schools can be stressful places).
Schools could use sustainable producers to create school uniforms, helping mitigate school’s contributions to more water intensive practices and practices which may be less compliant with human rights. Schools could encourage the recycling of uniforms from year group to year group, not only further mitigating the climate impact but also poverty proofing uniforms.
Schools ideally should be located along cycle routes so students can easily walk and cycle to schools, reducing congestion on the roads and alleviating risks to pupils. Affordable and accessible public transport services could further reduce the carbon footprint of those travelling to schools.
Hopefully, I’ve demonstrated the potential for schools to be green hubs, instilling climate consciousness and habits which aid future generations in mitigating their impacts on the climate. Students deserve to be told the truth. A well rounded education could empower students to make individual changes and demand action from others too. Through taking an approach which empowers students, climate anxiety amongst learners could decline. Schools really could lead the future.