Teach crisis in school, activists tell MPs

Friends have joined with others to support the ‘Teach the Future’ campaign, which seeks to put the climate crisis at the heart of education

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has joined education charities, unions and environmental NGOs in signing up to ‘Teach the Future’, a youth-led campaign to put the climate crisis at the heart of the education system. As fifty youth climate strikers took the message to MPs on 26 February at a parliamentary campaign reception, BYM staff tweeted how it was ‘fantastic to hear young people talking about climate justice in the House of Commons’.

Activists presented their ideas for teaching the ecological crisis at the crowdfunded reception, hosted by MP Nadia Whittome. Meanwhile, an open letter in support of the campaign attracted 200 signatures within forty-eight hours.

Eighteen-year-old Quaker activist Anya Nanning-Ramamurthy said she supported the campaign as: ‘I feel it is so important that the younger generation is taught about climate change and the crisis we are living through. Primary and secondary education barely covers these topics. 

‘My A-level geography course does cover quite a bit on climate change and humans’ impact on the planet… [but] even now it’s not taught as if it’s an emergency, but instead just as something that’s occurring. This is the future we are going to be living and we deserve to be made aware and prepared for it.’

The joint initiative by the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) is calling for three key demands: a review of how the formal education system in England is preparing students for the climate and ecological crisis; a Climate Emergency Education Act; and an endowment fund for youth-led climate action.

Oliver Robertson, head of witness and worship at BYM, said the ‘Teach the Future’ campaign is much needed. ‘Our vision is of a world where people and nature can thrive, and education should develop young people’s skills and understanding in a way that will help them to build that world.’

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