Italy's government becomes first to mandate climate change education in schools

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 9, 2019

Fioramonti's vision for an environmentally sustainable curriculum comes at a time when young people such as Greta Thunberg and students in groups like Extinction Rebellion are leading the political charge in taking climate change more seriously.

Under a new law, all state schools will dedicate around an hour a week to sustainability and climate change issues from the beginning of the next academic year, said Lorenzo Fioramonti.

Now when kids show up to school next September, they'll have about an hour a week (or 33 hours per year) of a climate-change-related course.

Salvini has previously made sceptical comments about the climate crisis and earlier this year said that global warming was not evident in Italy given the country experienced a cold May.

Yes, children, climate change will be on the test. Italy's education minister said Tuesday that its public schools would soon require students in every grade to study climate change and sustainability, a step he said would put Italy at the forefront of environmental education worldwide.

"The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model".

Fioramonti, 42, the author of several books arguing gross domestic product should no longer be used as the main measure of countries' economic success, has been a target of the right-wing opposition since becoming a minister in the two-month-old government of 5-Star and the centre-left Democratic Party.

Teachers will begin training for the new curriculum in January 2020, which will be created with the assistance of a panel of experts from Harvard and Oxford. Elementary-aged children will learn using what he called a "fairy-tale model" that connects the environment to stories from different cultures. Additionally, the Earth just experienced it's hottest-ever October, and the Trump administration started the formal process this week to withdraw the USA from the Paris Climate Accord - a pact in which almost 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases.

In September, he also encouraged students to skip school and take part in the Fridays for Future protests which call on world leaders to take more decisive action to tackle climate change.

"The 21st-century citizen", he said, "must be a sustainable citizen".

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