Learning for a Sustainable Future accepts the consensus of the scientific community that human-induced climate change is underway and that impact at some level cannot be avoided. LSF also supports the view that the degree of harm resulting from human-induced climate change can be greatly decreased by taking action now and that action will be required for the foreseeable future.
Climate change is the most complex and wide-reaching challenge facing humankind today; it is essential that we help younger generations to be better equipped to take on this challenge, and that we call on their energy, creativity and need to contribute to help us all take up the task.
Climate Change Presents Educators with Daunting Challenges
- The scope of climate change and its impacts cannot be underestimated. Everything we do depends on a stable climate. Our understanding of climate change and its impacts requires an understanding of multiple related systems including the climate/weather, energy, economics, and media and communications systems.
- The worst of climate change doom can lead to debilitating feelings of anxiety. Its complexity generates feelings of being overwhelmed into inactivity. Manipulation of the media appeals to our baser emotions in order to thwart reasoned thought and analysis. Yet emotions are rarely addressed in formal learning.
Conflicts with many dominant worldviews
- To Address climate change is to challenge many dominant perspectives in western society: unbridled population and economic growth, consumerism, meat-based diets, short-term planning and the priority of jobs over other concerns. Most educators, as members of society, hold these views.
Conflicts with the culture and practices of conventional schooling
- Conventional schooling teaches for the right answers. At this point in time, society does not have the right answers for the complex range of issues that climate change evokes.
- Most school learning is currently subject- and timetable-bound. Climate change learning spans all subjects and requires blocks of time to access the deeper learning required.
- Most teachers are not carbon neutral in their personal lives and hence open to calls of hypocrisy by their students. This undermines the conventional “command and control” culture with which many teachers are most comfortable.
But these challenges also present valuable opportunities to evolve practice so that students have a sound understanding of climate change and get involved in contributing to solutions their schools and communities.
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