UK downplays climate change in school curriculum

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The latest draft guidelines for for the United Kingdom’s national curriculum for children under 14 have been attacked by climate change activists for not mentioning climate change and sustainable development.

The draft guidelines do not mention climate change in the geography section and make one reference to man made carbon dioxide emissions impacting the climate in the chemistry section, reports the Guardian. The guidelines also make no mention of sustainable development, but the new curriculum does mention the “efficacy of recycling.”

The proposed curriculum has stoked fears among climate activists and scientists who argue that teaching climate change in schools has helped young people become ardent supporters of government policies and local actions to tackle climate change.

“It appears climate change is being systematically removed from the curriculum, which is not acceptable when this is the biggest challenge our generation is going to face, the biggest challenge future generations are going to focus on,” said Camilla Born, an international expert at the UK Youth Climate Coalition

The UKYCC said “climate change was too important to be left to the whim of individual teachers,” according to the Guardian.

However, the proposed changes to the national curriculum were welcomed by groups such as the Geographical Association, representing more than 6,000 teachers, and the Royal Geographical Society

“In the past, in some instances, young people were going to start on climate change without really knowing about climate,” said Rita Gardner, the Royal Geographical Society director. “What we have got [in the new draft] is a much better grounding in geography, and it has the building blocks for a much better understanding of climate change and sustainability.”

However, a UK Department for Education spokesman said it was nonsense to to think that climate change was being cut from the national curriculum.

“All children will learn about climate change,” said the spokesperson. “It is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum.”

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