Our Global Alliance is a network of global organisations committed to environmental action who share the ambition of The Prize to repair the planet, as well as academic and non-profit institutions and private sector alliances from around the world. Our Global Alliance and nominators are a key part of Earthshot, and as such, their news is great news for the environment and something we look forward to sharing on a regular basis.
This week, our Global Alliance Partner, EARTHDAY.ORG, talk about the importance of climate literacy to help repair our planet and their work for this year’s Earth Day.
51 years after the first Earth Day united 20 million people under the common goal of environmental reform and civic action, the world continues to face its most existential challenge yet: climate change. Yet, since 1970, more than 3 billion people have graduated high school with little to no formal and assessed climate curriculum. These and future generations stand to inherit a world extremely impacted by environmental degradation while lacking the education and civic engagement skills needed to help solve these universal challenges.
Fixing our climate requires not only a transition to a clean and green economy, but also for the next generation to have a clear understanding of the climate system and internalize that knowledge to contribute to a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable world for the years to come.
Climate literacy is the key.
According to a recent paper in PNAS, climate education was noted as one of six social tipping interventions needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement in order to keep the global average temperature increase well below +2℃ by 2050. A climate literate person is one who is able to understand the interacting variables of the climate system and act in accordance with this understanding to have the least impact on the environment. Climate literacy also goes hand-in-hand with civic engagement, which will prepare these individuals to have a role in community well-being and make positive, lasting changes on a local level.
Climate literacy will also equip future leaders with the skills to take on jobs in the 21st century green economy. The green economy is a knowledge-based economy in which every worker, regardless of their field, must be trained to understand climate change and contribute to innovations to reduce energy consumption. It will greatly encourage green growth, reduce poverty and promote equity. Furthermore, a climate literate population will be able to make sustainable consumer decisions to support this economy.
EARTHDAY.ORG’s Climate and Environmental Literacy program is advocating for compulsory, assessed climate and environmental education with a strong civic engagement component. By building a grassroots network of supporters and gaining commitments from national governments and intergovernmental agencies, we are working to heighten international ambition on climate and environmental literacy at COP26 this November. As an outcome of this conference, governments should add compulsory climate education to their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement.
Climate literacy can provide youth with the tools to build a sustainable Earth for future generations. An education that does not prepare youth to tackle these vast challenges and restore our Earth is not only insufficient, but indeed perilous.
Earth Day’s 2021 theme is Restore Our Earth™, which highlights the natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Alongside climate mitigation and adaptation, restoration is essential to removing and storing excess carbon from the atmosphere. Through five pillars — climate literacy, reforestation, food and regenerative agriculture, global clean-ups, and citizen science — we aim to create a planet where humans work with nature and not against it. We strongly support the Earthshot Prize and its efforts to fix our climate, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and protect and restore nature.
EARTHDAY.ORG is delighted to be a Global Alliance Partner of The Earthshot Prize and to support critical innovations that can help fix our climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we can all come together over a common challenge, for a common purpose. Now, our planet faces an even bigger threat due to climate change. At EARTHDAY.ORG and The Earthshot Prize, we know it is not too late – if we act now, on multiple fronts, we can make the world a better, more sustainable home for everyone.