Teaching kids about climate change is a tough conversation, but with the climate crisis worsening, environmental education is essential. Instead of projecting fears about global emissions, the United Kingdom is introducing a nationwide course on the climate crisis that will teach students how to protect the planet. Integrated into the U.K.’s public school curriculum, the climate crisis-focused course will provide young people with tools otherwise rarely discussed.

Within the U.K. education system, the General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs) stand as the education qualification exams for grade school students. Taken in year 11 (ages 15 to 16), students are required to take exams in English language, core sciences, and math, but students may choose from a variety of subjects for the additional exams. The new natural history GCSE will exclusively deal with the planet, the climate crisis, and how people can protect it.

“Sustainability and climate change are the biggest challenges facing mankind. None of us can be in any doubt just how critical they have become,”  U.K.’s Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said. “The new natural history GCSE will offer young people a chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment, and how to conserve it.”

Zahawi will officially announce the new GCSE course later this week. The Department for Education will prioritize climate change, the environment, and the industrial dangers in developing a new curriculum by exploring conservation, fieldwork, biodiversity, and practical methods to protect endangered ecosystems. During the COP26 event last year, Zahawi revealed that the Department for Education’s new strategy would “put climate change at the heart of education.” The course will be available for students starting in 2025.

Government Efforts to Promote Sustainability

To protect the planet from environmental disasters, people and governments can commit to three solutions: Using less carbon energy, reducing Co2 emissions, and eating plant-based. Since the third installment of the UN’s IPCC report, the climate threat is more pressing than ever. The report claims that the world must slash methane emissions by 33 percent by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions to prevent the planet from heating up at a dangerous rate each decade.

Plant-based education is central to fighting the climate crisis. Meat-free food systems and education will help promote sustainability, especially among younger consumers. One study found that a meat-free diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent. Consumers are already shifting their food purchases as information regarding the climate crisis becomes more available. One survey found that 55 percent of shoppers say that sustainability matters when shopping at the grocery store.

Beyond the U.K.’s new environmental education, other countries have started to prioritize new programs to educate children on how to fight climate change. This week, Brazil announced a new school meal program that will provide 170,000 students with sustainable, healthy meals. The meal program will simultaneously lower the greenhouse gas footprint of the school system and introduce younger people to sustainable, plant-based options.

Following the UN’s call to action, Denmark immediately enacted a new, plant-based initiative to help curb the worsening greenhouse gas levels. Denmark just invested $100 million into a plant-based fund that will be dedicated to promoting plant-based innovation, sales, and education across the country. The fund draws attention to the dangers of animal agriculture industries, holding Denmark’s large meat industry accountable.

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