Climate Change Lessons Become Compulsory in Italy — Should Other Nations Follow the Suit?
Several days after 11,000 scientists from all around the world declared ”climate emergency’.” Italy’s Minister of Education, Lorenzo Fioramonti, officially announced that all Italian students would attend mandatory climate change lessons as of next academic year.
Fioramonti explained that Italian schools would be required to dedicate 33 hours per year, or one hour per week, on climate change and sustainable development. In his words, climate lessons would be worked into geography, math, physics, and other traditional subjects.
Italy is planning to base the syllabus on the United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals. The elementary school-children would start learning the subject via the so-called ”fairy-tale” model Fioramonti explained. Middle schools would offer a more technical approach, while high schools would introduce the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Fioramonti said.
Italy’s Ministry of Education is currently working with expert groups to help it redevelop the national curriculum accordingly, Fioromonti added.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Center of Sustainable Development, the world-renown economist Jeremy Rifkin, are among the experts to work together with the Italian government, Fioramonti said. The ministry would start teachers’ training by January.
The minister of education, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star movement party, is an economics professor at Pretoria University in South Africa. He pointed out that he aims to put sustainability, environment, and climate at the center of Italian education.
The 21st-century citizen should be a sustainable citizen, Fioramonti said.
His political opponents have often criticized him for his proposals for a plastic tax and sugary drink tax. He also publicly encouraged Italian students to skip classes and join the global ”Fridays for Future” protests led by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Earlier this week, 11,000 scientists have officially declared a ”climate emergency” warning of ”untold suffering” if humanity does not change its ways.
Bill Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and co-author of the declaration, said that the climate emergency is threatening each part of our ecosystem. In his view, we are already running out of time to react.
At the same time, President Trump has started the formal process to withdraw our country from the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement signed by more than 200 countries defining their national goals to reduce pollution of heat-trapping gases.
What do you think? Do you support or oppose Italy’s idea for mandatory climate education at school?